Roland Barth believes that there is a way to create a school which, instead of insisting upon uniformity, builds upon diversity among students, teachers, and teaching styles. Unlike many educational theorists, Barth has had ample opportunity to test his beliefs during his many years as an elementary school principal. Run School Run is the chronicle of his theory in action, a nuts-and-bolts study of one school’s rocky but ultimately quite successful transition toward pluralist education.
For Barth, the case against an elementary education that is uniform in content and method is clear-cut: teacher abilities differ radically, and so do student needs. In the pluralist school, the problem is to find ways to put this variety to good use. Barth shows that the solution is essentially a matter of organization; he sets up a principal’s blueprint that offers teachers more control over curriculum content, teaching materials and methods, and composition of classes, in a way that ensures an educational coherence for each student.
Run School Run is a rich, readable account, a how-to book as well as a personal reminiscence on the initiation and administration of an environment in which teaching and learning are allowed to take on shapes of their own design.