In his preface to the 1958 edition of The Thread That Runs So True, Stuart makes clear that his book is intended as a testimony to teachers and the importance of teaching, which Stuart considers the greatest profession in the world because it nurtures all other professions. The book offers a case history of a young, vigorous, and idealistic person entering teaching under extremely difficult circumstances and learning from that experience. By the end of his story, Stuart, at the age of thirty-two, has served as elementary teacher, high-school teacher, principal, and school superintendent.
As a teacher, Stuart learned the importance of interesting students and involving them actively and competitively in a gamelike atmosphere. As a principal, he learned that parents and members of the community must become involved in fostering a learning environment in home and in school. As a superintendent, he learned the negative effects on teaching and learning of ill-informed interference, poor funding, and political conflict. He was devastating in his condemnation of the old trustee system and the dual system, which favored city systems and discriminated against rural schools. Stuart’s key for excellent education was to put interested, dedicated, and well-educated teachers in all classrooms.
Unfortunately, the Kentucky of his generation was an educational wasteland in which support for schools was sadly lacking. Stuart condemns a system that underpays and...
(The entire section is 607 words.)