The Underachieving School

The Underachieving School

John Holt

Holt shook the education system and started parents thinking about better ways to teach their children. This book lays out arguments about how schools fail children and ideas for what to do about it.


18 in stock

John Holt, the “grandfather” of homeschooling, shook up the education establishment and started parents thinking about better ways to teach their children. In this book he lays out his basic arguments about how schools fail our children and offers a wealth of inspiring ideas for what to do about it.

The Underachieving School is a collection of essays and articles written and compiled by Holt, each brimming with inspiration and ideas on how to teach children. Taking into account how children actually learn, this book shows us the difference between learning and schooling through his original thinking, clear, thoughtful writing, and firsthand accounts of what does and doesn’t work in education.

“Education is something a person gets for himself, not that which someone else gives or does to him.”

—from Underachieving School


Praise for The Underachieving School


It is good to see the reprinted edition of Holt's Underachieving School at a time when the achievement of a school determines the quality of school life for millions of children in the United Sates. It is a collection of essays on a range of topics from the tremendous pressure of grades in high schools, conceptions of classroom order and the downfall of big city schools. What is striking about the book is that, although it was published in 1969 it still rings a bell and strongly so. Next to nothing in the volume reads as out-of-date—to the point where it is truly scary. It confirms that not only mainstream education reform movements but the countercurrent of the established educational mainstream has history. The good news is that both camps have a way of rejuvenating and thus keeping the issues on the table, making choices available and voices heard. The collection is a strong voice that reminds parents and teachers alike how schools fail children, dispose children of their desire to learn and turn them into meek and docile beings, with a total disregard of how children actually learn. It is recommended reading for parents thinking about homeschooling.

— Aleksandra Majstorac Kobiljski

John Holt displays again with undiminished clarity a kindly intellect that is strong, eloquent and compassionate, holding out to a nation trapped in ignorance a rational way to light the darkness.

—Jonathan Kozol, author of Life

With our schooling situation growing ever more deplorable, Holt's work is more critically needed than ever. He spells out the problem and its solution with such clarity and simplicity that any parent can read him and every parent should. We ignore his prophetic vision at our peril.

—Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of The Magical Child

Additional information

Product Format


Page Count

147 pages


5.5 x 8.5 in.