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Waldorf Critics - Page 6

post #101 of 109
Thank you Lillian, I think you just hit the nail on the head as far as my concerns go! I'd like to be active in my daughter's school, to help support her and her school, but I don't feel that I need to use it to find a community. I'm very happy witht he friends I have and don't plan to stop associating with people just because our kids go to different schools. I am concerned about the beliefs of Anthroposophy being used to guide my children without my explicit knowledge and understanding. I feel that in a public school using Waldorf methods this will be downplayed, but not entirely absent. I have a lot of thinking to do...
post #102 of 109
Plans have slowed down here, so I have a little extra time before leaving. I should be clearer about something I said:

Another concern was the way she saw those spiritual beliefs strongly guiding everyday policy and decisions, attitudes, etc., about individual children - and generally without parents being aware of the way this works.
I don't think there's an attempt to keep parents in the dark about Antrhoposophical beliefs - there are study groups you can join, although my understanding of them is that they're groups in which you're there to really seriously study it in a systematic way, not just casual meetings in which someone simply lectures and explains exactly what principles and beliefs are being applied in the running of a Waldorf school. If that were done, I think people would understand a lot more - but it won't ever happen, because they don't take it that casually. - Lillian
post #103 of 109
We had a member of the local Anthroposophical society come to one of our parent evenings to talk about Anthroposophy. He came because some of the parents wanted to learn more in a casual environment. I feel like our school has been pretty upfront about anthroposophy and how education fits into it. Education is such small part of it. Most people I have met who consider themselves Anthroposophers, consider it a philosphy and not a religion. In fact, most of them identify as a particular religion (some are Jewish, some are Christian, some Buddhist, etc.). The teachers do use this philosophy with their teaching but it is not taught to the children. Montessori is a philosophy also but I believe that it is very narrowly focused on education while Anthroposophy covers many areas such as gardening, etc.
post #104 of 109
Thank you all for answering my questions so thoughtfully and honestly.
post #105 of 109
Lousli, I believe the Waldorf magnet school you're exploring was the second one involved in the PLANS lawsuit.

I know of some differences between it and most Waldorf schools. There is much less of an anthroposophical emphasis among the faculty working as a body, though there is more community interest in that direction than you'll find in the general public.

And they follow the outline of the typical Waldorf curriculum overall, but with some changes. I don't think that Saint stories are used in the second grade, for example. I think they replace them with hero stories from other sources.

You probably still find St Nick in the K and Moses in 3rd grade. The school district officials have vouched that the curriculum in this school is 100% compliant with state guidelines governing so-called "establishment" related issues in the classroom, but I know that some people feel uncomfortable that any of this is allowed in schools at all.

If you don't mind my asking, what is it that appeals to you about this particular school's philosophy? What makes you interested in a Waldorf method school?
post #106 of 109
I am interested in the imaginative play, the oral tradition, the arts and crafts, the language instruction, music, dance, etc. I have taught in a public school and i have seen how much has been stripped away over the years in favor of teaching to the test and tons of academic pressure and homework at an early age. I'm trying to find something that is the best of both worlds, public and private.
post #107 of 109
My husband, as a blues singer, found the 3rd grade curiculum our child went through, to be very helpful. My dh never went to church and never learned any Old Testement stories so many of the old blues songs never made any sense to him. I mean, he has no understanding of who Sampson and Delilah are or Moses, etc. I big part of culture was missing from his upbringing. So even if these stories are not viewed religiously, they have an impact on culture in more areas than you know.
post #108 of 109
This article from salon.com might be of interest to some people.

post #109 of 109
Originally Posted by cmlp
This article from salon.com might be of interest to some people.

Here is a response to the salon.com article--

I'm not totally enthused about this response. It is very long, it gets into a lot of complicated stuff and I doubt if many people will be willing to read it all the way through and figure out what is actually being said.

Unfortunately, however, it is very easy to take snippets of stuff that Steiner said and make him out to be a horribly bigoted nasty weirdo. He wasn't. I've been reading stuff by Steiner for (oh my!) forty years now. In all that reading, I've rarely run into remarks that are bigoted, even by today's stringent standards.

What I've noticed being done, is that the critics have a fairly small stable of outrageous quotes which are trotted out (sorry for the screwy metaphor) over and over and over again. The claim is made that these are a small selection of a huge number of biased remarks, giving the impression that every other word coming from Steiner was an example of blatant racism. Nope, the outrageous quotes are all there is, basically. Out of 350 large volumes, totaling over 80,000 pages, the total selection is pretty much what you all have probably already encountered.

Further, many of his remarks on the topic of race and ethnicity are arguing in favor of inter-marriage, and against nationalism (including German nationalism).

To give one example out of many, when the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was first published and promoted as proof of a world-wide Jewish conspiracy, Steiner was one of the few folks around who immediately identified it as fraudulent and spoke out against this document as an inciter of anti-semitism.

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