This extraordinary document shows the style of argument commonly adopted by Anthroposophists: character assassination. -Dan Dugan
Anthroposophical Society in America
1923 Geddes Avenue
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104-1797
Internet: www.anthroposophy.org www.spiritworking.org
February 4, 2004
Board of Directors
Benicia Unified School District
350 East K
Benicia, CA 94510
Dear Sir or Madame:
The philosophy of Rudolf Steiner is known as "Anthroposophy" (from "anthropos" meaning human and "sophia" meaning wisdom) and is a method of spiritual inquiry. Steiner established an Anthroposophical Society to foster and protect his methodology. The Anthroposophical Society in America, Inc. was incorporated in 1938 as a New York State corporation which has its headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan. You may find out more about us at: http://www.anthroposophy.org or more about the "anthroposophical movement" at http://www.spiritworking.org.
This letter is to inform you of our very strong objections to the false and defamatory assertions made about anthroposophy and the work of Rudolf Steiner in a document which you have recently received, "Notes on the Carquinez Charter School (Waldorf) Petition".
A group of critics centered in San Francisco is leading a campaign of defamation using hate-group-like tactics against both anthroposophy and Waldorf education. The group is known as "People for Legal and Non-Sectarian Schools" (PLANS) and they maintain a "Waldorf Critics" web site at http://www.waldorfcritics.com and they also maintain a "Waldorf Critics" list-serv which is publicly re-published at http://www.topica.com/lists/waldorf-critics. This site and these list-servs have a similar character in relation to Waldorf education and anthroposophy in its defamation and demonization of them as the hate site "Jew Watch" at http://www.jewwatch.com has in relation to Judaism.
PLANS' "Misinformation campaign"
PLANS has been conducting its campaign against anthroposophy and Waldorf education since 1995. In a June 10, 1997 top of the page editorial, which the Sacramento "Bee" entitled "The Attack on Oak Ridge", the Bee called PLANS action at Oak Ridge elementary school a "misinformation campaign". School districts such as yours are targeted by PLANS for similar "misinformation campaigns" solely based on their connection with Waldorf educational methods which might become a part of a public school education program in your district.
One part of their campaign is a document such as the one you have received. you will note that these comments actually say very little about the school being proposed in your district. Instead, the document seeks to impugn the proposed school by making outrageous and defamatory allegations about anthroposophy and Waldorf education.
Question the motive
The motive of PLANS for submitting this document must be questioned by your group as it is clearly part of the on-going defamation campaign which PLANS initiated in 1995. This campaign has included a wide range of hate-group-like tactics in print, radio and on the internet. We are grateful that internet service providers have helped us remove PLANS' defamatory material from their sites.
Consider the source
If the motive is suspect, one must also consider the source: Dan Dugan, PLANS Secretary, is not an "expert" in education or pedagogy. And so, his comments about your proposed school should be given no more weight as any other layman's opinion.
You should also know that Dugan is not an "expert" in anthroposophy or the work of Rudolf Steiner. A Judge has not allowed Dan Dugan to appear in a court case as an "expert witness" on what Dugan called "Anthroposophy; Steinerism; occult, spiritual & pseudo-science practices in Waldorf". His commentary about anthroposophy--given his agenda and past practices--should be given no credence whatsoever.
No Basis In Fact
The PLANS document is based on untruths, innuendo and the twisting of fact in order to place anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner, the Anthroposophical Society and Waldorf education in a false light. We categorically reject the "anthroposophy" which PLANS presents in their document. It is a fiction of their own invention.
My understanding is that public schools employing "Waldorf methods" aspire to use the best pedagogical practices from a wide variety of sources and look to a Waldorf approach for a foundation of their program. I know for a fact that Waldorf methods schools are entirely separate from the private Waldorf school movement. They are very distinct. And, I know that my office has had no connection with Waldorf in the public sector until a copy of the Carquinez school petition came my way.
I very much regret that your district has had to be subjected to this attack on anthroposophy conducted by PLANS. I also very much hope that you will feel free to include this office to verify any of the specific allegations contained in the document you may receive.
Jean W. Yeager