For the last 3 weeks I have been enjoying reading the Waldorf Critics List and archives, and wanted to come out publicly to thank Dan and Deborah S. for all their incredible patience and work and for helping people like me. I had no idea that this has been going on for years! (I've found 3 weeks to be quite grueling!) I'd also like to thank you all for the debates as you have really helped clarify my issues with Waldorf Schools. (Dan, Deborah S, Allan, Lisa, Diana W, Peter, etc... you are to me what Rudolph Steiner is to the Anthroposophists!!!) Well....not quite, as Euripedes councils - "The wisest men follow their own direction and listen to no prophet guiding them." But thanks for the information!
Several years ago, I picked up and moved from another state specifically to enroll my daughter in a Waldorf School. I was excited that art would permeate the curriculum. That there would be lots of drama and music. That there would be an emphasis on environmental issues. That fairy tales and myths would be taught. I was happy that organic food would be the norm and that my child would have other vegetarians in her class. (BLA BLA...) I especially liked the fact that she would be getting a nonsectarian education.
When we arrived in rural WI we enrolled our child in the Waldorf School, and began to have some peculiar experiences. Just the usual issues discussed here on this list, such as what color to wear, what grain to eat on what day, no lines, no art, zodiac this and that, you're a bad parent for telling your kid the truth about gnomes, fairies, Easter bunnies, Santa, angels, etc. I began to suspect that I'd joined a spiritual movement, but because I was told "NO NO, not true," and because I didn't know what Anthroposophy was (I'd heard the word enough at this point so I could say it and spell it,) I just kept on going along with the program but couldn't quite figure out what was going on! I learned that parents could advertise musical concerts in the monthly bulletin for Waldorf parents, but that I couldn't advertise the alternative, independent film society films that I helped to bring to the area. I found out that I couldn't bring in a wonderful children's film for a Waldorf fundraiser. (Not talking about Disney.) I found out that really 'cool' children's books that I donated to the rag tag school library were not acceptable, like Mr. Lunch and Max goes to Paris, etc. (Not talking about Disney.) Pages and pages of incidences like this.......
I realized that the fairy tales were often sexist, patriarchal and very religious. Creationism was taught and when my daughter questioned this, she was told that we didn't come from apes. My child was made to recolor Eve's hair blond after choosing black. She was taught about angels, and demons, and page after page of her exercise books reflected a very religious perspective. (BLA BLA) I became really depressed and had nothing to do with the school. I just answered their pleas and sent them money, lots of it.
There was a duality set up which was very confusing to my child. I had made a very poor choice of school for my daughter. I had intended her education to be nonsectarian because I am an atheist and wanted her to make her own mature decision later. At home she was taught one thing, and at school the complete opposite! I had really blundered. I should have read the Waldorf prospectus with skepticism. I should have been suspicious when I read it's claim of being nonsectarian. I should have researched Steiner to determine that he is not as they claim - a scientist, educator, philosopher, but occult scientist, religious educator, and esoteric Anthroposophist. I finally put my child in the local public school and a few months later another disappointed ex-Waldorf family told me of the PLANS site. It was a relief to have my feelings validated. It is a horrible experience to be viewed through the distorted lens of religious subjectivity, especially when you don't understand the Anthroposophical perspective, and everybody is hush hush when you ask questions. For goodness sakes WSA, please be clear to parents about your religious Anthroposophical doctrine. State your beliefs clearly and at length in your prospectus so people like my family can be spared!! And Waldorf Schools can be spared our frustration and anger. America is the most religious country in the western world, 95 percent profess a belief in god! They'll be clambering at your doors to fill their "god spots" up. Good grief, why and what are you hiding? "Touched by an Angel" is a very popular mainstream TV show, demonstrating that America will love your ideas! I've never seen it because I don't watch much TV but my point is, be open! This is a Democracy, you have religious freedom!!! Some people want to believe in angels, fairies and gnomes. Some of us don't! After discovering the PLANS site, I went on to read a lot of Steiner, and he is not for me to say the least! I now understand that music is from the spirit world and that film is Ahrimanic.You should have just told me that in the first place instead of the mind games!!! Angels are responsible for even the tiniest movement of the smallest finger and fairies are real! Jolly good show! I couldn't care less what you believe, but don't impose your beliefs surreptitiously on the uninformed, because it is not very nice, and besides, it is illegal thanks to the law of the land! My family has been deeply impacted and our lives completely altered by our wrong choice of school. Your critics are not asking for much, just that you follow the law of the land! Keep church and State separate so that wars will be prevented, and honor the religious freedom guaranteed to all of us by the Constitution! BE HONEST! Be Democratic!
Thanks PLANS for being vigilant and for trying to mend the giant crack in the wall keeping church and state separate.Let me know what I can do to help.
Also, I'm concerned about the poor Frenchman's plight. I think that sects and cults are illegal in France, and obviously, by this court ruling, Anthroposophy is now accepted there, along with Christianity, etc. (Sort of like the Mormons acceptance now in the U.S.A. I suppose.) I think Christianity and Anthroposophy are sects, so I don't see why the Frenchman should be punished so unjustly for calling a spade a spade. I'd like to write to him and his government. Perhaps they just need a little information - reading Steiner's writings including "Outline of Occult Science" might help. Maybe they haven't read "Feet of Clay" by Anthony Storr, an Honorary Fellow at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and an Emeritus Fellow at Green College at Oxford. Maybe the French Government would believe him? Does anybody have an address for me?
Peace and love to you all, Anthroposophists included,