An Interview With PLANS President

By Jeff Horseman

1–Where did you get the material from the forwards. You mentioned Waldorf teachers’ manuals but what about quotes from Anthroposophical authors.

PLANS has an extensive resource library, purchased by board members, from Anthroposophical publishers.

I recommend you contact The Anthroposophic Press to request a “Complete Catalog”. Anthroposophic Press is located in Hudson, N.Y. Their phone number is 518-851-2054 (hours Mon-Fri 9AM to 5PM). Toll free fax line is: 800-925-1795. Email: . Simply reading the book descriptions can be a real eye-opener!

2–I’ve seen quotes by Steiner in which he denied Waldorf Schools were fronts for Anthroposophy. What is your response to this?

The objective of education for children is quite different for Waldorf teachers than it is for the average parent, teacher and school board. Steiner created Waldorf schools so he could begin the process to advance the evolutionary stage of souls who would be reborn in future lifetimes (reincarnation). Yet this will be denied because of Waldorf schools deceptive mission and the need to atract outsiders’ children. As Steiner said in 1920, while trying to obtain state approval for his school:

“We must worm our way through…[I]n order to do what we want to do, at least, it is necessary to talk with the people, not because we want to, but because we have to, and inwardly make fools of them.”
[Rudolf Steiner, Conferences with Teachers of the Waldorf School in Stuttgart, vol.1, 1919 to 1920 Forest Row, East Sussex, England: Steiner schools Fellowship Publications, 1986 pp. 125]

The two year Waldorf teacher training program involves one year of indoctrination into Anthroposophy, a sect of theosophy, with practical training on how to bring Anthroposophy into the classroom the second year. They believe they are speaking the only truth, because Steiner said so.

Rudolf Steiner College’s Foundation Year Book list (for Waldorf teacher training) appears normal on transcripts, but under ‘Psych 101’ is: Rudolf Steiner, Theosophy; Rudolf Steiner, Calendar of the Soul; Rudolf Steiner, The Younger Generation. ‘Psych 100’ encompasses Rudolf Steiner, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment; Rudolf Steiner, Foundation stone… History is a good category as well. The teachers in training will read ‘Rudolf Steiner, The Course of My Life; Robert McDermott, ed., The Essential Steiner; Stewart Easton, Man and World in the Light of Anthroposophy… And so it goes… The first year Waldorf teacher training program is all about studying Steiner. Either student teachers read books by Steiner or _about_ Steiner. If Steiner’s followers deny their roots, perhaps it is because they are concerned that outsiders would not choose to send their children to Waldorf schools.

I served on the school board at my children’s private Waldorf school. I have spent many hours inside faculty meetings. Nothing in a Waldorf school exists without Anthroposophy.

3–You said something about having a child in a Waldorf School at one point. What happened?

I had two children in Waldorf. My oldest son transferred to a private Waldorf school in third grade because he felt “invisible” in his public school classroom, where he was one of 33 students [with no aide]. I liked Waldorf because it was a small country school, very similar to the school that educated me (..or so I thought!). That school ended up closing at the end of his fourth grade year, but I was one of three founders of a public Waldorf school (which PLANS is now suing).

My oldest son liked Waldorf until I began to ask questions about the school’s unfderpinnings. Then the teachers began to single him out for punishment. He came out of fifth grade academically disabled.The families decided to leave after we concluded that Anthroposophical doctrine got in the way of a quality education. Seventeen long term Waldorf families left Waldorf the year after it went public. Honestly, the Anthroposophical dogma seemed more intense than it did in the private school that had closed! With the school’s funding source secure, it seemed as if the teachers no longer had to consider parents wishes to keep the school alive. Every one of the founding families left the tax funded Waldorf school after the first year. The Anthroposophical teachers just took it over.

Approximately 80 families left the public Waldorf school by the end of that first year. 17 out of 20 families left from my older son’s class and 12 out of 17 families left Waldorf from my younger son’s class. Whew!

Luckily, my oldest sons transition was pretty easy because many families left together, placing them all in a Performing Arts Charter practically next door. Over the summer, I hired a middle-school reading specialist to teach my fifth grade child how to read.The entire class was academically behind.

My youngest son, who began Waldorf in kindergarten, complained that he was not learning anything [in first grade], and his public Waldorf classroom was out of control. After many months of frustrating communication with the school, we placed our Waldorf educated son in public school mid-second grade.

During my last meeting with his Waldorf teacher, I stated that perhaps Waldorf was inappropriate for him. She replied, “It sounds to me like you are questioning Anthroposophy. If you are, you should leave, because every teacher here is an Anthroposophist except for one, and she is coming to Anthroposophy.” What!!? This was a *public* school!

I asked the administrator and school board for a definition of Anthroposophy, parents were told at a public school meeting by Waldorf trained teachers, “If one were to define Anthroposophy, you would kill it,” yet “without Anthroposophy, the teaching wouldn’t do the kids any good.”

4–Was PLANS formed specifically to counter Waldorf Schools?

Yes. Waldorf promoters offer an easy and economical program for unwary public school systems. Local school boards, desperate for more funds and new ideas to raise performance, are being seduced by the appeal of Waldorf’s dedicated teachers and their interweaving of art and music into all subjects. The US Department of Education allotted $230,000. to fund a three year project in Sacramento to infuse Waldorf education into a public elementary school. $100,000. went to The Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, CA to pay for teacher training. Because there is no way to track funds, we have no true sense of how many tax dollars go to fund Waldorf. Interestingly, The Steiner Colleges are in their hay day right now. They struggled financially until they discovered how much money their infusion into the public sector would bring.

I have a personal problem with religious sects who deny their own belief system in order to survive. In America, religions live or die on their own merit.

Occultist Anthroposophists do not believe it matters if people understand *what* they are doing, or *why* they are doing it – just as long as they *are* doing it. Morning verses, or prayers to their sun god are not necessarily offensive to parents who don’t understand what the “verse” means.

When was it formed?

A group of concerned parents began a study group to educate ourselves about Anthroposophy in December of 1995. As part of our search, I found Dan Dugan. Out of this study group, and from what we learned, we formed PLANS, People for Legal and Non-Sectarian Schools. Out of the original study group, I am the only one left. I feel very supported by my fellow committee members, but the reprisals of this kind of work is not for the faint hearted. I have received death threats and my family is subjected to continual harassment by the local Waldorf community. I have been followed in my car, flipped off, screamed at [in front of my ill mother and children]. I continually receive mean spirited telephone calls (not to mention the daily telephone hang-ups).

5–Is there any evidence that Waldorf students become anthroposophists as a result of their education?

Several former Waldorf graduates join our email list from time to time who are “defenders of the faith”. We also hear from bitter Waldorf graduates who resent their “mis-education.”

There are no studies of any kind performed in Waldorf. PLANS would love to see some statistics on this.

6–If children are taught that the heart does not pump blood and that Newton was wrong (as mentioned in articles by Dan Dugan), wouldn’t these kids be having problems later in life as a result of their scientific miseducation?

Waldorf curriculum is deletist where Steiner’s beliefs no longer comply with mainstream thinking. The science curriculum used in Waldorf schools includes frequent examples of lunatic fringe beliefs. Steiner taught that the heart does not pump blood, so while Waldorf students may draw beautiful diagrams of the human circulatory system, they will never learn how it works. Public school teachers at my sons’ tax supported Waldorf school defended their belief at a public meeting by saying that there is current research being done at a certain college that will prove they are correct, “The heart is not a pump.” I think this is an example of naive thinking and two years of indoctrination into Anthroposophy. They forget that the rest of the world does not think the same way they do.

7–In your opinion, are Waldorf children receiving a good education?

No. I am very concerned that there is too much emphasis on European culture and American culture slips through the cracks. My son produced beautiful art work and stories which I believed came from him. I was alarmed to find out that it was all copied off the board. Even the writing! He had no idea _what_ he was writing in his main lesson book, he just copied the shapes of the letters! I thought he likely had a learning problem. Imagine my surprise when I learned that almost have of his classmates were in the same boat?

There are no core academic classes in Waldorf teacher training and few parents realize that.

8–What do Waldorf Schools have to do to alleviate your criticisms?

It would have to start with the teacher training program. Waldorf teachers need core academic training _more_ than indoctrination into Anthroposophy. Waldorf’s child development model is based on reincarnation, it remains untested and could be damaging to children. Waldorf’s history curriculum is based on theosophy’s world view. It is a racist theory and inappropriate for modern public school systems.

9–What sorts of activities does your organization do?

PLANS mission is to inform the public about Anthroposophy’s connection to Waldorf, a school system advertised as nonsectarian. We have a slide show presentation geared toward school board members. If we hear of a Waldorf school trying to utilize public funds, we send informational packets to school board members. With consideration of time, distance and money, we try to attend board meetings where Waldorf proposals are on the agenda, primarily to let school officials understand that Waldorf schools are aren’t just Arts based schools, they are Anthroposophical porochial schools that do not belong in the public sector. Our goal is to send an informational packet to every school board member in the USA.

Currently PLANS has filed a lawsuit against two California School Districts who have sponsored Waldorf programs within their districts. PLANS feels confident that we have damning evidence of Anthroposophy in the classrooms and hiring practices.

PLANS extensive resource library is open to the public. We have helped provide documentation for expert witnesses in custody battles, divorce cases and even landlord/tenet cases. Almost any time Anthroposophy is involved, PLANS can help. Our dedicated researchers have peeled off the layers of Anthroposophy’s deceitful practices

10–Even if Waldorf Schools have a religious bent, what makes them different from, say, Catholic Schools?

Catholic schools are created to serve the children of their parish. While other folks [who are not Catholic] often send their children to Catholic schools because of the quality of the education – they are very clear that it is based on Catholic doctrine. It is an informed decision.

Waldorf schools claim to be nonsectarian, but they aren’t. They are a missionary arm of Anthroposophy and they are not honest about that. This dishonesty prevents parents the right to make a fully informed decision. Most families enroll their children with out a clue of what they are buying.

What is your reaction to people who say your attacks on Waldorf Schools are little more than anti-religious bigotry?

That is an easy out and a smoke screen designed to avoid the issue at hand. PLANS board includes people from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs. PLANS board is an unlikely coalition of people who agree on little else, but have come together for the purpose of blowing the whistle on Waldorf’s move into the public sector.

Waldorf proponents dismiss our concerns with charges of anti-religious bigotry, hoping to discredit us. PLANS has yet to see anyone specifically rebut the issues we have brought forth. We continually ask Anthroposophists for evidence that will disprove our charges, but none is forthcoming. It is easy to attack the people at PLANS, and completely ignore the issues.

PLANS formed because no one seemed to know anything beyond the window dressings of Waldorf’s occultist school system. Waldorf’s move into the public coffers seemed like an emergency. PLANS intends to get the word out. Until Waldorf promoters are honest with school boards and parents, we’ll be here.