10-20-2008 03:27 PM CET - Science & Education
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University of Stockholm rejects Waldorf teaching program

Press release from: People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools

Stockholm Institute of Education, a teacher training college, merged into Stockholm University in January, 2008. The merger included 700 employees and 14,000 students. It also included a Waldorf (Steiner) teacher training program, which, in keeping with its cultic origin, was a separate program inside the Institute. After the merger, it appears that the University faculty became aware of its shortcomings, and canceled the eleven courses that constituted the Waldorf program.

The University stated that the courses were not founded on relevant theoretical grounds, that the foundations of the subject matter were unscientific, and that the course material was not based on scientific knowledge. Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences Stefan Nordlund said "In parts the student course literature isn't just unscientific. It is dangerous, and it conveys misconceptions which are worse than muddled." University President Kåre Bremer said about the curriculum "Parts of the content are not only scientifically untenable, they are simply untrue."

None of this was a surprise to the board and members of PLANS, many of whom have attended Waldorf teacher training. Waldorf teacher trainees are taught a theory of child development based on reincarnation, and pseudo-scientific doctrines like blood being a "spiritual fluid" that moves itself in the human circulatory system.

Debra Snell, President of PLANS, noted "This is a clue as to why American education is in crisis. The educational establishment in the U.S. has embraced Waldorf based on the movement's propaganda, rather than any examination of the religious theory behind it or knowledge of its incompetent practices." "We hope," Snell continued, "that university education departments and local school boards in the United States will take the example of the Swedes, look behind the façade, and recognize Waldorf as the lunatic fringe religious activity that it has always been."

According to Brad Wise, President of Alliance For Excellent Education (www.all4ed.org/), the United States is quickly losing ground in the "Educational Olympics." We have slipped from number one to number thirteen for High School Education and from number two to number 15 in our colleges.

"PLANS joins with Alliance For Excellent Education to encourage states to adopt a set of voluntary common standards that are benchmarked internationally so that all of our students receive a world-class education." Debra Snell asserted. "Publicly funded Waldorf Schools are in stark contrast to this goal."

Dan Dugan, Secretary of PLANS, commented "All it takes is a couple of hours reading the texts used for Waldorf teacher training to come to an understanding that Waldorf is faith-based, and that the theory was frozen when Steiner died in 1925." PLANS has collected a library of internal Waldorf publications that is available to researchers in San Francisco.

Background article: www.waldorfcritics.org/active/articles/uni_waldorf_200810...

BACKGROUND: WHAT IS PLANS?

PLANS was organized in late 1995 by former Steiner/Waldorf parents, teachers, students, administrators and trustees, and their expert support base. International in membership and scope, it became a California non-profit corporation in 1997. PLANS' mission is to provide parents, teachers, school officials and journalists with views of Waldorf education from outside the cult of Rudolf Steiner, to expose the illegality of public funding for Waldorf school programs in the US, and to litigate against schools violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

ANTHROPOSOPHY

Anthroposophy, an occultist sect founded by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) and still headquartered in the Swiss village of Dornach, is the spiritual movement behind the worldwide network of schools called “Steiner,” or “Waldorf.” PLANS alleges that in reference to the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Anthroposophy is a religious sect. The defendants claim that it is a philosophy. This is a crucial issue in the PLANS lawsuit. If Anthroposophy is a religious activity, then taxpayer-funded Waldorf schools violate the U.S. Constitution by being entangled with religion. Common references classify Anthroposophy as religious; for example, Encarta: "a religious philosophy developed by Rudolf Steiner from theosophy, holding that spiritual development should be humankind's foremost concern."

U.S. LAWSUIT

PLANS contends that both private and public Waldorf schools are intrinsically and inseparably based on Anthroposophy. Curriculum decisions and teacher training are based on Anthroposophy's child development theory, which defines stages of reincarnation, a religious doctrine. Science teaching in Waldorf schools includes crackpot Anthroposophical doctrines like "the heart is not a pump." The framework for history in Waldorf schools is based on Anthroposophy's proto-Nazi “root-race” theory. Publicly funded use and reliance on the doctrines of Anthroposophy endorse that religion in violation of the United States and California constitutions.

PLANS filed its federal lawsuit in Sacramento on February 11, 1998, naming as defendants the Sacramento Unified School District, which operates a "Waldorf Methods" magnet school, and the Twin Ridges Elementary School District, which carried on a veritable franchise operation, establishing six "Waldorf-inspired" charter schools, all located in other school districts.

In May, 2001, Judge Damrell dismissed the PLANS lawsuit against the two school districts, based on lack of standing. PLANS appealed the decision, and in February, 2003, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed PLANS' right to sue the school districts as taxpayers and reinstated the case.

When the U.S. District Court tried the case in September, 2005, PLANS refused to proceed without certain key witnesses and evidence that the judge had excluded, forcing a dismissal. PLANS appealed, and in November, 2007, the appeal succeeded. The case now goes back to the Federal District Court, Eastern District of California, in Sacramento.

The Twin Ridges district was dropped from the lawsuit after it no longer authorized any Waldorf schools. As a result of a reform of California’s charter school law, schools originally chartered by districts outside their physical locations were required to apply for charter renewal in their home districts.

For more information, please see the PLANS web site, www.waldorfcritics.org.

Contact (North America): Dan Dugan, Secretary, PLANS, Inc. +1 (415) 821-9776
Contact (Europe): Alicia Hamberg, Stockholm, Sweden, aliciahamberg@yahoo.com for appointment
Contact (Australasia): Dr Adrienne Huber, Perth, Australia, +61 (0)431 391 468

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