‘no anthroposophy, no steiner values’

This is a tricky one. My first reaction was: there are two alternative interpretations here, either the people at Leeds Steiner school don’t know what they’re doing or they’re trying to mislead or deceive the public. Neither alternative reflects very well on Leeds Steiner school, which is a member of the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF). But… and there is a but: the question asked provided the school with a cop-out. As everybody knows, waldorf schools claim they don’t teach the children anthroposophy or the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. This is a ‘truth’ worth discussing though. Sometimes what Steiner taught his anthroposophists is actually taught to waldorf school children. The teachers study Steiner’s work when they study to become teachers. (We’ve recently talked about history education and the culture epochs on an other blog thread; one might reasonably ask if this is not a school subject where the ‘facts’ of anthroposophy seep through to the students in a direct manner. And, in any case, teaching a subject such as eurythmy is to teach anthroposophy. What else would it be?) This said, anthroposophy is always indirectly present. Let me get to that.

But here’s the question that left Leeds Steiner school with the opportunity to exclaim ‘No anthroposophy, no Steiner values’:

First, no they won’t teach the national curriculum, they have their own Steiner curriculum. Second, here’s the problem. Steiner schools claim they don’t teach anthroposophy to students and, of course, if someone asks if they will be ‘teaching anthroposophy’, it’s pretty easy to deny it (and hope there won’t be any more questions). This does not mean that anthroposophy is not the foundation of the entire school down to every detail of the curriculum. This in no way implies the school isn’t immersed in anthroposophy. But Steiner schools aren’t supposed to teach anthroposophy; I think even Steiner was clear on that: the tenets of anthroposophy weren’t to be taught… but he doesn’t object to teaching some of the ‘facts’ derived from ‘spiritual research’ and waldorf schools have done so in the past and will most likely continue to do this (or at least they’re unable to distinguish between scientifically established facts and spiritual fancies and thus getting things mixed up due to ignorance).

All this means is basically that waldorf school teachers won’t stand in front of their classes giving lessons on anthroposophy. It’s more likely anthroposophy will never be mentioned, but still have a huge, though less direct, influence on everything that happens in the school, from the subjects that are taught, how they’re taught, when they’re taught to how teachers interact with students to the traditions and rituals that are observed. But anthroposophy won’t normally be talked about. (Given the influence it has, I think it should be talked about. The children, at least when they’re older, deserve to know about it, in a direct way, in order to help them make some sense of what they’ve experienced.)

This, unfortunately, means that Leeds Steiner school probably felt honest and upfront about the answer, even though it is, in effect, an answer with a potential to mislead. The reason is that people are possibly unaware that there exist, in this context, some welcome opportunities for waldorf schools to deny teaching anthroposophy while still operating fully according to anthroposophical beliefs and adhering strictly to ‘Steiner values’. As they should do, if they want the label ‘Steiner’.

Sometimes it appears as though, when speaking or writing publicly, Steiner schools would rather denounce Steiner and anthroposophy. They’d rather not be too tightly associated with Steiner’s name or with anthroposophy, even though they really should thank anthroposophy and Steiner, without whom they would just be… schools, and probably not very interesting ones at that. (Even the SWSF has wished to ‘rebut’ Steiner.)

I would seriously want to ask a school like the Leeds Steiner school why they’re so happy to announce their lack of committment to anthroposophy and Steiner values — if this is what they’re doing in the reply to Jan; certainly they don’t seem too eager to expand on their actual association with anthroposophy and we’ve certainly seen similar behaviour from other schools and waldorf proponents –, when, in fact, they’ve chosen to use the name ‘Steiner’ and when they’ve chosen to belong to the Steiner movement. Because, actually, Steiner, waldorf and anthroposophy are not concepts without content. They mean something, and choosing such a school (or avoiding it) is a decision based upon what these schools are. Well, at least — that is how it should be. But waldorf schools are sadly all too happy enrolling the children of uninformed parents — and are constantly surprised when it turns out that parents are sometimes not all that happy when they find out more.

As said, Leeds Steiner school is a member of the SWSF. This means the school has to adhere to the criteria set up by the SWSF.

SWSF, in turn, collaborates internationally. The anthroposophical movement’s pedagogical center is the pedagogical section at the Goetheanum, Dornach. The Hague Circle — now reportedly renamed the ‘International Forum’ — is one interesting entity to look at; The Hague Circle has held conferences on important topics, and I’d recommend Leeds Steiner school (and everyone else) to read more about this one, which is especially pertinent to the topic at hand here. SWSF’s membership criteria are perhaps a little less clear about anthroposophy than the Hague Circle is (see my earlier blog post for references). Nonetheless, the SWSF states that

Steiner Waldorf education centres are independent, self-administering bodies that have chosen to associate  in order to promote, advance & develop the method of education, founded upon Spiritual Scientific activity & study as indicated by Rudolf Steiner.

Further down SWSF lists some provisions, among them

a) There has been adequate preparation, including anthroposophical study,
b) An Anthroposophical impulse lies at the heart of planning for the school, including the Waldorf curriculum
c) A registered company with charitable status has been established which includes a wording to the effect that the purpose of the activity is to provide education based upon the principles of Rudolf Steiner (or similar)

On SWSF’s website’s main page, it is stated that the purpose of the association is ‘to safeguard the Steiner ethos’. This, too, actually means something. They’re not just random words we don’t need to take seriously. (By the way, the SWSF’s own description of Steiner waldorf education is lamentably inadequate.)

Leeds Steiner school ought not be so eager and happy to announce ‘no anthroposophy, no Steiner values’. Instead they should make a real effort to explain what exactly this means and to make sure to represent, openly and honestly, the role of anthroposophy in the school.

39 thoughts on “‘no anthroposophy, no steiner values’

  1. another great post! Though sadly looking at Jim Wild’s recent comment on the Hereford article (Wild is behind the Leeds proposal) he is already well on the path, note how he completely ignores the previous comment written by an ex-pupil who feels utterly let down by the Steiner Academy Hereford:

    Jim Wild says:
    22 December, 2011 at 5:07 pm
    ‘[…]Perhaps many of us think of success in different terms. If you want the traditional success measures of loads of money and to be a high ranking boss of all, then yes you will need to exhibit traits that researcher Jon Ronson found “lack of empathy, lack of remorse, glibness, superficial charm, manipulativeness”. The traits of pycophaths appear high on the list of for many Chief Executives (not all granted! and the debate about measures of success could continue for ever).

    My main gripe is the current state system leaves so many children without hope and a dislike of education, this is pretty criminal in many peoples minds, as well as a complete waste of time and money. When the measures of success are 5 A*-C at GCSEs (at which Steiner schools do very well at coincidentally) the border line children get extra encouragement, but those at the top and bottom are left out. At our proposed school we want all children to succeed, and of course we want them to be able to live and work in the real world. I agree with Ken Robinson and many others when they say the world is changing so fast that you need creativity and innovation, and to have a love of learning new things. […] We need leaders, but we also need more doers and those doers need broad balanced education too, and not to be labelled and funnelled by a system that sees results in fixed terms’

    http://positivenews.org.uk/2011/community/education/5763/whole-child-educational-approach-mainstream/#comment-7095

    [Quote edited. /a]

  2. mule — unfortunately, I may perhaps have to edit the quoted, since it’s his entire comment and I’d rather not end up getting in any trouble again. If I do it (I don’t know yet, can we assume he’s ok with being quoted in full…?), I’ll try to pick the important parts.

    The comment before, written by an anymous poster was interesting. I agree that the art stuff is basically quite crap. You’re told you have to play the flute, whether you want or can, and you’re *never* told how to *in words*. How are you supposed to know, how are you supposed to improve, how are you supposed to get anything useful out of it at all?

    Jim Wild wrote about psychopaths: “lack of empathy, lack of remorse, glibness, superficial charm, manipulativeness”. I don’t actually think you learn to be like that without having the gift for it (perhaps much like flute-playing, you really need both a gift and someone to teach you… or, in the case of waldorf, someone to mimic), but for someone who has the gift, I’m certain waldorf school provides a nurturing environment. Lack of empathy signified lots of what went on. The children seemed to excel at lacking empathy, lacking remorse, glibness, superficial charm… and I guess manipulative skills were being developed too. Could look at school leaders as role models perhaps?

    You know, just to give an example, ignoring that children treat other children badly requires some lack of empathy.

    ‘My main gripe is the current state system leaves so many children without hope and a dislike of education, this is pretty criminal in many peoples minds, as well as a complete waste of time and money.’

    That’s pretty much my gripe with waldorf education summed up neatly.

    ‘When the measures of success are 5 A*-C at GCSEs (at which Steiner schools do very well at coincidentally)’

    They do? Didn’t the Steiner academy Hereford’s parents keep their children at home for some tests, I don’t know which ones? Isn’t there some evidence that the number of Steiner children who participate in these and other tests is low, and persumably the children part-taking are those who can be counted on to perform… not too badly?

    ‘At our proposed school we want all children to succeed, and of course we want them to be able to live and work in the real world.’

    But what are they doing to achieve this? More of the same things steiner/waldorf schools have been doing for the last 90 years?

    Also, I’d say, there’s little ‘creative’ in imitation, and imitate is what you learn to do. Imitate one wet-on-wet painting after another without ever being told why or how.

    As for the article itself — http://positivenews.org.uk/2011/community/education/5763/whole-child-educational-approach-mainstream –, Trevor Mepham speaks of ‘an opportunity for more children from the locality to benefit from Steiner education’. I’d like to say that it isn’t always something a child benefits from. Quite the opposite. I’m disappointed that the article doesn’t mention anthroposophy or Rudolf Steiner.

  3. Maybe he hasn’t written anything and, as a Steiner proponent, feels embarrassed by the lack of creativity!

    I think his appearance is more worrying.

    A mad punk horse with whiskers?

    ;-)

  4. It’s typical for proponents of Steiner ed to exaggerate how very bad things are in other forms of education. Jim Wild describes ‘traditional success measures’ as if Alan Sugar were running a school (as his TV persona – obviously) and chucks in a daring amount of psychopathology in case his readers cling to a milder (and more realistic) version of academic success. Meanwhile he doesn’t give a stuff about Hereford’s casualties (which includes the residents of Much Dewchurch).

    He may have a lot to hide, but I suspect it may be more that he has nothing original to say.

  5. anyway – this is a very fine post, Alicia. Honesty is the issue here – and it’s vitally important. These initiatives need to be honest with parents, and with themselves.

  6. ‘It’s typical for proponents of Steiner ed to exaggerate how very bad things are in other forms of education.’

    Indeed. It happens again and again. Sometimes the bad stuff seems made up. Like there’s no place for creativity or individuality in mainstream education.

    (Well, I’ll tell you were I personally found and did not find creativity. There was a lot more appreciation for creaticity — and many more students taking on creative paths in life, as far as I can tell, which perhaps isn’t very… far — in the academically oriented school compared to the waldorf school. It’s not as if knowledge prevents creativity. The kids can to what they want — be doctors or become painters. It takes talent, commitment, skills. knowledge… whatever you choose to do, it will require something, though, depending on the path, it may be different. And, for the education, the school, to be successful, it’s about providing opportunities — not closing doors. Waldorf, on the other hand, was about making the child adapt to the very special requirements of waldorf. And those were not somehow freer, rather more restricted. In my view, you had to relinquish your individuality, not develop it.)

    When they’re talking creativity — and when they’re claiming they nurture it, while mainstream education is stifling it — I think parents would better be cautious and not take their word for it. It isn’t always what it seems to be. Just because waldorf *looks* different, it doesn’t mean they’re more accepting of individual differences and (actual) creativity among the students. Just because it looks different, it doesn’t mean that the students aren’t simply copying an entire concept from their teachers.

  7. I agree with Melanie, This a very fine post and it is disturbing to me seeing another Steiner School putting up smoke screens and talking what amounts to propaganda.

  8. I don’t know, but “no Anthroposophy, no Steiner values” just sounds like a throw-away comment from a public relations person who doesn’t understand what they’re promoting. It’s rather like meeting a sales person from an IT company who doesn’t really understand the product they’re selling – not an unusual situation! They just know it’s great and will solve all your problems.

    The SWSF membership criteria document is intriguing. Look at the survey form for parents at the end, part of the assessment process leading to accreditation of a school as a full member of the SWSF. Parents are asked how strongly they agree or disagree with the statement “Anthroposophy is at the heart of the school”. I’d love to see some of the answers and reactions to that. I wonder if all parents are surveyed or just those attending ‘study groups’ etc.

  9. Well, on twitter you’ve got to choose your words carefully. The Steiner-uninformed don’t know, upfront, that you can’t ask Waldorf educators “Is anthroposophy taught” because that’s giving them their favorite throwaway line, “No anthroposophy isn’t taught,” which is practically a custom-fit tweet. If you ask “Is anthroposophy at the heart of the school” the reply would have to be much different. (Then we’re perhaps be at least in the realm of the “elevator speech,” which is probably slightly longer than a tweet …)

  10. Jan Rush unwittingly provided me with a very good illustration of what happens when somebody asks a question like that. Not that I couldn’t guess — I certainly could — but the short messages of twitter makes it very easy to use the exchange to highlight a certain phenomenon. I’m sure it’s a question some parents ask, parents who are a bit concerned about anthroposophy. They might ask exactly what Jan asked, and they might get exactly that reply. And, interpreting it incorrectly as ‘there won’t be anthroposophy’ and drawing conclusions from it, risk making the decisions.

    This is something waldorf schools reps should think about when asking question (at least if satisfied customers, who don’t feel cheated on, is paramount) — for example, they might make sure the person understands that anthroposophy is the foundation of the school, even when they want to state it isn’t taught. To avoid misunderstandings. They should know that ‘no anthroposophy, no steiner values’ is a reply that can be misunderstood, if the other person is not aware of exactly what question was asked and the context. (And many prospective parents aren’t aware.)

    I agree with Falk that it is putting up a smoke-screen, even if the answer is (sort of, but not entirely) true.

    Like Mark, I reacted to that question — it’s really a question only anthroposophist parents would be capable of answering. Or non-anthroposophists who know a lot about it. Of course, some schools do provide some info on anthroposophy, but — this is a hunch I have — it’s often quite non-specific and general and made up of things everybody could interpret anyway they want and thus easily like. With that background, even parents who in reality know nothing about anthroposophy might be able to tick a box!

  11. Yup. There are Waldorf parents who think they know a lot about anthroposophy who if you question more closely turns out they know basically nothing. They will get all indignant that critics say the schools are not upfront about anthroposophy. “Why, our Waldorf school was very upfront about anthroposophy. They told us all about anthroposophy at the open house and answered all our questions.” If you could be a fly on the wall at that open house, it would turn out that they were told something like, “Anthroposophy means ‘wisdom of man’. Steiner was an Austrian philosopher. He believed that man was a spiritual being. He also devised an educational system based on spiritual principles.” And the parent question was much like Jan Rush’s, “Is anthroposophy taught in this school?” and the answer was something like, “No. We do have Steiner study groups for the teachers though.”

    … and this is what the parent means by “The school was upfront about anthroposophy.”

    Arrrrrrgggh.

  12. I had missed that Roger comments on this, in his news section.

    ‘Waldorf or Steiner schools almost always convey such beliefs and values. This is, after all, why the schools exist. [See “Here’s the Answer”.] However, the tenets of Anthroposophy may not be spelled out in so many words for the students. Instead, Anthroposophical instruction can be indirect and subtle, working on the level of emotion and attitude rather than intellect. Waldorf schools are much more interested in what their students feel than in what they think. Indeed, in Anthroposophy, the brain is considered an unreliable instrument and thinking is often deemed suspect. Rudolf Steiner taught that truth comes through the heart and the soul (and specifically through clairvoyance), not the brain.’

    Read more here: https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatch/news-2

    (You have to scroll down a bit, almost to the end of the page.)

    I’d add one thing: I wish they had cared more for what students felt. They didn’t care what students thought, but to care for what they feel would have been… better than nothing.

    Of course, I’m sure to them, caring for what students feel is what they do — it’s just a different kind of caring, based upon ‘higher’ insights rather than the actual feelings of the child.

  13. Hi – a very interesting post! This really hit a nerve here as my partner and I are actually familiar with both Leeds Steiner Initiative and Jim Wild. Sorry for the length of this post, please bear with me…

    Our child is a former pupil of the Leeds Steiner kindergarten. Our story is not unique, and from what I have read, I would say it is actually quite common.

    Steiner seemed to be the perfect antidote to all our misgivings about mainstream education. We fell in love with the kindergarten and its open and unbiased ethos for developing confidence, creativity, compassion and intellect. Our hopes that the Leeds free-school would be open by the time our child finished kindergarten also gave us hopes of a continuous Steiner education with glowing qualifications by the end of it.

    We attended open days and festivals, had personal meetings with the staff, went to Parent and Toddler groups, then enrolled in the kindergarten. We became involved in volunteering, fundraising and support of the proposed Leeds Steiner School. There was never any mention of anthroposophy at any stage, and as we weren’t even aware of it we never even knew to ask about it.

    After a few successful terms at kindergarten, we stumbled onto some online information about anthroposophy, and how it permeates every fibre of Steiner schooling. Although it came as a real shock to us, it certainly explained a few things. Everything in fact, and so obvious was the explanation that we actually felt foolish for not suspecting anything sooner.

    We continued with an enormous amount of research, reading just about everything we could find on the subject, from ‘official’ sources and philosophical teachings to independent accounts, and those of pupils/parents/teachers with first hand experience. We found out about the practices, their explanations, and significantly, their purpose.

    When seeing things in this different light, the picture became startlingly clear. Nothing that we encountered within the kindergarten was incidental or accidental or done on a whim or against the book – small things that seemed to bear no significance suddenly made perfect sense – every detail of the experience had been designed and executed to open the senses and heighten the effectiveness of the anthroposophy influence. Even Steiner’s delayed literacy practice – the same as the admired European academic model – or so we thought – turned out to have very different motives altogether.

    Reinterpreting some advice we had been given for the home (in the interest of our child’s creative development), seemed to suggest other agendas, and relationships that we were encouraged to build within the Steiner community hinted at strategic manoeuvres to make or break inter-group factions.

    Re-reading the literature we received in the beginning, with the benefit of hindsight, was a fascinating exercise – it contained nothing which could alert even the sharpest of senses to anything outlandish, and yet information about the school’s actual agenda was really there, hidden in euphemisms and between the lines.

    We likened the whole experience to a vegetarian discovering that what they had been told was soya, was actually meat all along.

    We desperately wanted to speak out, but we didn’t know which parents were aware, and which weren’t. Caught between inciting a witch-hunt on one side and breaking other families’ dreams on the other, we felt completely paralysed. Needless to say, an overwhelming sense of isolation and distrust swallowed us up, and to get out was the only way we felt we could go. It was heartbreaking to resigning from our warm and loving extended family, and although we aimed a good deal of blame at ourselves, the feeling of betrayal and manipulation by some of our most trusted family members was too much to stomach.

    We consider ourselves to be broad-minded and spiritually open people, and ironically, discovery of the anthroposophical teachings themselves weren’t actually the main problem for us – the issue was the concealment, the deception, and mostly, the conditioning of our child in ways which we had neither knowledge of, nor consented to. Whatever the area, whatever the outcome, this is entirely irresponsible and unacceptable, and it was for this reason above all that we had to withdraw.

    A few years ago my partner and I were the victims of a long-standing deception, at the hands of someone very close and trusted. It devastated our lives emotionally and financially, and the post-traumatic effects still haunt us almost daily. The series of events and the shock, disbelief, humiliation, betrayal, dismay and anger we have felt in our experience with Steiner were remarkably similar.

    Had we read a comment such as Jan Rush’s puzzling ‘”No Steiner values” claim before our ‘discovery’, we would have been deeply concerned that the school we were investing in wasn’t being based on the principles we wanted. ‘Post-discovery’, it is just as upsetting to read, and although it is now no surprise, it is still a great disappointment to see that a newly proposed place of learning in Leeds, however competent the education turns out to be, will be built on a foundation of deception, manipulation, remorselessness and dangerous means of self-preservation. There should simply be no place for these in education.

    Coming back to the meat analogy, it wouldn’t be possible these days for food producers to trade under such clandestine and deceptive methods, and food standards agencies enforce their legislation to give protection from potential abusers. The same can be said for all industries – tobacco, alcohol, healthcare, motoring, travel, leisure, cosmetics, consumer goods, financial, property, civil service and, tellingly, mainstream education.

    It is imperative now that the very highest education authorities intervene here, and under no uncertain terms ensure that all Steiner establishments publish full and precise disclosure of their beliefs and intentions. It is paramount that the uninformed and unsuspecting are given protection. Personally, we count ourselves among the lucky ones. The number of victims this cover-up has claimed over the past 90-odd years of Steiner schooling doesn’t bear thinking about, but in these times of the nanny-state, litigation, think-tanks and watch-dogs, it is almost inconceivable that this problem can still exist.

  14. I can but offer my condolences for what happened. You are not alone, it happened to me and has destroyed my family. I agree, transparency from all waldorf/steiner institutions should be a prerequisite.

  15. Hello,

    Thanks for a thoughtful article. As someone who is interested in Waldorf and Anthroposophy, I am disheartened to hear stories of those who have been betrayed, deceived, and manipulated by lack of transparency in their Waldorf experiences. Granted, there’s a lot to know about Waldorf (the teacher training requires at least a couple of years of study), but surely there are many ways to make known to parents up front that all the teaching methods and ideas about how children develop and learn are based on spiritual principles developed by its founder, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), and that his path, Anthroposophy, is an esoteric one with various religious elements. Even THIS small amount up front would at least give parents a heads-up–a red flag, even–that this may not be territory they want to enter. But, unfortunately, even this information is hard to find in any form on a lot of Waldorf websites. It’s especially sad when parents feel guilty for having gotten involved in something that they later realized was against their wishes. But, how could they have known when the information was cloaked?

  16. I completely agree with you, Jessica. And I think waldorf schools would do themselves a huge favour by being a lot more upfront. They must know what they are about and be able to explain it. They should not treat it as a popularity contest. The parents who reject waldorf after acquiring knowledge about anthroposophy — well, it wasn’t for them anyway. And, sure, there will be those who have known about it, still chosen to go for it, and end up discontented anyway. But even they will have one thing less to complain about!

    As far as I can tell, being upfront and honest is a win-win strategy.

  17. They don’t think it should be the parents’ choice. They believe all children benefit from Waldorf and Anthroposophy (despite what they sometimes say publicly). Giving parents information that might steer them away from Waldorf would be horrible for the child’s karma. They don’t give a shit about the parents. And they’re fine letting children come to harm… after all, it was the bullied child’s karma, or the harming child’s karma. Parents should just butt out.

  18. I suppose so. But that doesn’t mean every ethically questionable behaviour is legally relevant obviously.

    If you’re that other spritual organisation, it has a somewhat different (I mean more severe) track record in the pursuit of mixing spiritual ‘enlightenment’ with criminal activity.

  19. I am more cynical, I think that behind the spiritual rationalizations (karma, etc.) is money. Simply, they fear they could not run schools if they advertised openly as anthroposophical schools. For recruiting purposes, they need to draw in a certain number of people who they believe would NOT look at them twice if the first approach was via anthroposophy. That is why the first approach is via “creativity,” “natural” and “individual” blah blah, “preserving childhood,” and the general crunchy granola image, the pastel colors, the fluffy bunnies and rainbows. That stuff has to be the first “hook.” Anthroposophy, served straight up, would not “hook” many people, in fact it makes many run screaming. Prospective customers have to be softened up first, in order to even TOLERATE anthroposophy when it is later revealed, AFTER the child is comfortably installed and moving the child is difficult.

    Or so they think. I have never been persuaded that honest advertising would hurt them in the long run (though it would plainly cause some upheavals in the short run). I have argued many times that if Waldorf schools used a completely open, proactively anthroposophical advertising approach, they would clearly turn away some customers, but it is also very possible they would attract many others. There is actually a big market for alternative religions.

    Furthermore, even if their recruiting numbers were somewhat reduced, their RETENTION numbers would skyrocket (because people blatantly opposed to anthroposophy would never enroll in the first place). And I believe they would operate much more smoothly overall because many of the ongoing crises that plague Waldorf schools would be greatly reduced (the mass exoduses when entire classes leave over a problem teacher, etc.). This argument is for the schools to reduce their ambitions, perhaps, and shrink enrollments, but improve their overall success.

    But it’s a risk I don’t think they’re willing to take. Presumably they rightly perceive that some schools would close. I don’t believe it would kill the movement by any means, however; I think it might strengthen it.

  20. True, all of it.

    By the way, just to clarify, when I wrote that what is unethical is not necessarily criminal, I didn’t mean to imply the waldorf movement is above being driven by an urge to obtain money (if nothing else so to keep operations running and people employed). Nothing wrong there. Necessarily. But there are better ways to stay afloat — and worse.

  21. Yeah, I know, I was more replying to Pete on the “karma” thing. You know I lose no opportunity to pontificate about karma, and I definitely believe they believe students are drawn to them by karma, and this is part of the reason they have trouble turning anyone away, or recognizing that some students aren’t a good fit. In my view, these two explanations (karma, and the practicalities of recruiting and keeping up enrollment numbers) aren’t mutually exclusive. I mean, if you believe in karma, those two explanations are the same thing!!

  22. Karma, yes, it was my karma….

    Is there any other good way of justifying keeping an unhappy child in a school, rather than to tell the parents the child is a very bad fit for the school?

  23. The fact that their process almost ensures difficulty in transferring students out of Waldorf is probably an unplanned benefit for them.

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