when accountability becomes a problem

The Hague meeting 2009 once again. From the Anthroposophical Society in America (thanks for the link tip!):

… the wish to live in a society based on individual freedom has to balance the individual needs of the child with the social responsibility of accommodating the needs of the group.

How utterly cynical. But also: how in line with my own experiences of waldorf education. The individual doesn’t matter. If the group ‘consumes’ the individual to further its own needs, that’s ok. That’s ‘balance’. The group has needs, these needs come first. Bullied children’s needs come second. The group has interests, these interests come first. The individual child’s interests come in second place. To benefit the group, it’s ok to sacrifice the individual. It’s no surprise the text mentions society’s ‘hypersensitivity to individual rights’. It’s no wonder they mention accountability as though it constituted a problem.

We know that the class community is an essential element in our schools. So we strive to provide an education in which every child is expected to be in every subject so as to provide a rich basis for the individual choices in school and in life and which will come later.

The class comes first, yes, it is the ‘essential element’. Not the individual. This does not lead to any basis ‘for individual choices’, obviously. Rather the opposite. Keeping the class together is, moreover, often done at the expense of the individual. It’s not so much fun for the child who has no part in the community, but waldorf schools just don’t care about that. It’s the child who’s supposed to adjust — even if the child simply cannot, or is not allowed to, do it.

About the Netherlands:

Yet now the laws have developed to such a point that equality has eclipsed freedom—and too often the equality has come to mean “being the same.”

Maybe it is about quality, not equality. Just a thought. Quite interesting, too, to see them diss equality, when a few passages earlier they were all to willing to ditch individual needs in favour of supposed group needs. This is what society does when it implements general standards — it is only on another level. Who’s allowed to take an individual path seems to depend on the kind of choices this path entails. Some people are more equal than others, no doubt. What waldorf school did was to require everybody to be the same — or, to put it this way, you could be an individual as long as you stayed within the boundaries that were set for you, and they were not generous, they were quite narrowly deliniated. Those who failed didn’t belong yet were still expected to remain in the class: to be there as a non-part of the group, to be there as a constantly failing, non-belonging outcast. As somebody once told me, maybe I too fulfilled some kind of function in the so called community. A role which, had I not been there, some other child would have been forced to take on. Individual karma and group karma would presumably help explain how this ‘destiny’ is created. How jolly it is to be of service to the collective good! Even if this requires you to lose yourself along the way. No, actually, not jolly at all.

Everybody apparently forgot about the individual freedom of the child. In the end, that’s all that counts.

6 thoughts on “when accountability becomes a problem

  1. Some thoughts about that document:

    Is this the man’s first language? He seems to be squeezing his words through a sieve using the back of a spoon.

    Oh they are so hard done by. Why do they have to be accountable? Why, why? They are persecuting us. Only we understand education – what it is to be free….. If the finished product is a child who can’t read or write properly and who gibbers like an (artistic) ape, that is all fine because one day, when unicorns once more walk the earth, someone will give him a job as a fruit-packer.

    “equality has eclipsed freedom—and too often the equality has come to mean “being the same.” yes – this is the same as saying – we don’t care about all those other children, the monstrous lost souls who play Cooking Mama on their Nintendo DS: we should be allowed to do whatever we want with the few we have. You just don’t understand.

    For ‘pluralism’ they mean : your stuff is all shit. Give us the money and go away, while we knit this eurythmy gown out of leaves. Go! Go! I have a headache.

  2. ‘… when unicorns once more walk the earth, someone will give him a job as a fruit-packer’

    until then, s/he’ll be just another fruit-cake.

    Thanks, Thetis! Brilliant!

    But:

    ‘Cooking Mama on their Nintendo DS’

    Is that some kind of cannibal game?

  3. When they talk about freedom they don’t mean freedom for children who want to read books or learn maths. They mean freedom to learn eurythmy for children who want to learn eurythmy.

  4. ‘nobody wants to learn eurythmy.’

    That’s the big clash between waldorf and reality.

    ‘That’s the materialistic real world for you.’

    Horrifying! Shocking!

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