PUBLIC WALDORF SCHOOL CHURCH/STATE BRIEFING SACRAMENTO 5/15/97
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - MAY 12, 1997
Debra Snell, President, (916) 273-1005 snell oro.net
Dan Dugan, Secretary, (415) 821-9776 plans dandugan.com
People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools (PLANS) will present a briefing on Oak Ridge School's "Waldorf method" program at 4:30 PM, Thursday May 15, at the California Teachers Association, 1118 10th Street, Sacramento, California. Representatives of the CTA, the Sacramento school board, and the Curriculum Commission of the State Department of Education have been invited.
A third of the teachers at Oak Ridge school, a "magnet" school funded by a $350,000 Department of Education grant, have applied for transfers because they object to religious elements in the teacher training and question the educational value of the Waldorf method. PLANS alleges that Waldorf programs are a missionary activity of Anthroposophy, a cult-like religious sect. Dan Dugan, PLANS Secretary, will show examples of Waldorf publications supporting this allegation. Teachers who have had Waldorf teacher training will testify about their experiences.
Before Oak Ridge began its conversion to a Waldorf magnet school, PLANS contacted the Sacramento school board twice to warn them of problems other districts have had with Waldorf programs. In addition, Americans United for Separation of Church and State provided a legal brief to the board which was also ignored. Debra Snell, PLANS President, said "we hope that the new school board will be able to correct the previous board's mistake before too much damage is done."
Other school districts have avoided entanglement with Waldorf. St. Cloud, Minnesota rejected a proposal because "The spiritual philosophy behind Waldorf schools could not be separated from its educational components." When the Anchorage, Alaska school board rejected a Waldorf program, the superintendent said "district staff have been informed that anthroposophy is a fundamental part of the teacher training program which develops the instructors for the program."