--- In email@example.com
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "pete_karaiskos"
> <petekaraiskos@> wrote:
> > Hi Val,
> > I just have a few comments.
> > Many Waldorf teachers are dedicated to the children. Many others
> > dedicated to Anthroposophy and to bringing the children (and their
> > parents) to some form of Anthroposophy. Some are just not dedicated
> > to the children at all - in fact one may wonder if they aren't
> > suited for some other career. Sometimes, the answer is NO, they
> > aren't well-suited for ANY career and so they find sanctuary in the
> > Waldorf school environment. Some teachers, I suspect, look at
> > as a Camphill for able-bodied people... they are there for the
> > community elements and not necessarily there because of a need to
> > teach children anything.
> Dear Pete,
> I've been fortunate to have had very dedicated teachers.
I've discovered that there are two types of happily satisfied Waldorf
parents - those that have truly had great Waldorf experiences, and
those who are willing to overlook horrible experiences with the "well,
all schools have their problems" mindset.
> > > So I started thinking about it-like what's going on there-and
> what I
> > > came up with is in the case of the K teacher I know we have a
> > > who wants to be on a spiritual path without relinquishing
> control, I
> > > think. Now, this brings up for me, a lot more questions-for
> > > does anthroposophy attract more of these individuals with, let's
> > > a high need for autonomy because of its, comparatively speaking,
> > > it-yourself methodology. This was definitely an attraction for
> me, as
> > > I have "guru issues" that I am currently taking medicine for.
> > LOL! I don't think most Waldorf teachers (at least the ones I've
> > encountered) are doing-it-themselves. In fact, I don't think they
> > doing-it at all. Most seem to be too busy with their everyday lives
> > (and being a teacher is demanding to be sure) to do any spiritual
> > exercises, spiritual soul-searching, spiritual growth. Indeed, I've
> > known some teachers for 15 years who have shown little if ANY
> > spiritual growth during that time. And, yes, those tend to be the
> > ones with controlling personalities (control issues).
> My point, exactly!
And so we have spiritually *stuck* people keeping up a pretense of
being spiritual while doing everything in their power to control
others around them, perhaps through deceit, but certainly including
putting pressure on them in various ways (guilt, threat,
ridicule/humiliation) in order to get what they want.
> > > > It is not that every Waldorf kindergarten teacher allows the
> > > children
> > > > to use sharp knives unsupervised - but it is *representative*
> > > the
> > > > type of lapse in safety, hygiene and general concern for
> > > > welfare that is reported in Waldorf world wide. There is no
> > > > about this.
> > >
> > > So there's a question-do WSs have a more laize faire attitude
> > > other independent schools?
> > Absolutely! I can only speak to my personal experience, of course,
> > but things like mandatory reporting laws (according to California
> > of child abuse/molestation claims made by children were routinely
> > ignored. Parents were put in the position on several occasions of
> > confronting the teachers who covered up incidents of this nature
> > their children. Only last year, incidents involving one of my
> > children occurred at a camping trip - and the involvment of my child
> > was, despite opportunity, hidden from me until I found it out on my
> > own. Laize-faire? How about downright dishonesty?
> > > The number one reason that parents choose
> > > an independent school (according to the NAIS) last I looked was
> > > safety. Parents are concerned for their children's welfare-duhhh.
> > > I'm sure that there is a lot of anecdotal evidence for lax policy
> > > procedures at WSs but this is an example of what I was mentioning
> > > Pete-this could be documented.
> > Oh, believe me, I have documented lots and lots of this, names,
> > letters from the school, letters to the school, police reports,
> > witness testimony. I've got boxes of documentation going back more
> > than 5 years. The book I'm writing on this topic is already 650
> > > What are best practices for
> > > independent schools? What policies and procedures has X WS school
> > > formally adopted?
> > First, start with safety standards as apply to state schools. There
> > are, apparently, different standards for private schools than there
> > are for public ones. Why would any school want to be less safe than
> > the minimum state regulations?
> Well, if you understood my chart-you know $$$$$!!!
I'll admit, I gave up on the chart.
> But sometimes,
> Pete, the state regs are not relevant to schools that are not public
> and therefore are not required to be all-inclusive. And every now and
> then they're just plain just dumb.
> Like here's one, I believe from
> Illinois: you can only bring pre-packaged store bought food in for
> class celebrations. No home made anything for children's celebrations
> in the Land of Lincoln. But I would start with your school versus
> their peers in the independent school movement-otherwise known as the
OK, but here's one that isn't dumb, that our Waldorf school didn't
follow - Teachers and administrators may not distribute or administer
medication to a child for whom it was not intended. While this is a
very good saftey measure, and an excellent law, it only pertains to
public school teachers. Private Waldorf schools are not bound by this
law. In our school, "calming" medication intended for a particular
child was distributed to other children - with the intention of
calming them down. When this was reported to the police, they said
there was nothing they could do because it was a private school. If
safety is truly an issue with parents, they should look at these kinds
of safety issues.
> > > Tom mentioned Dee Coulter a few days ago and I just mentioned I
> > > guru problems and this all ties together neatly here... A couple
> > > years ago Dee and a good friend of mine, a local anthroposophical
> > > guru, were part of a panel discussion for independent schools in
> > > Colorado. Afterward they reported that there were about fifty
> > > educators in the room and that they came with the knowledge that
> > > ten years time half of their schools would no longer exist. So
> > > were hungry and eager to hear what this "cutting edge" panel
> > > provide in the way of curriculum guidance.
> > I won't comment on this one. Obviously, if I was on the panel, they
> > would come away shaking their heads <G>.
> > >
> > > Patrice Maynard with AWSNA just spoke a few weeks ago at the NAIS
> > > conference. She had a room with seventy five chairs-standing room
> > > only with the hall filled with people wanting to hear about WEd.
> > > presentation on storytelling was very well received.
> > This is why I feel there needs to be a critical perspective in any
> > discussions about Waldorf. People who only get the sugar-coated
> > version will come away with that opinion.
> > > I went to a grant-writing course a few weeks ago and was
> > > by two University of Colorado professors and the Chair of the
> > > Education Department at the University of Wyoming for information
> > > WEd. I mean it used to be that you mentioned WEd and people
> > > had never heard of it or thought you were a kook-now they say can
> > > tell me where I can get more information?
> > Sure, Waldorf is making a big splash. Many people are hearing about
> > it now - and probably in no small part to the controversies
> > surrounding it. It's like here in Hollywood - any press is good
> > press. At least people are realizing that they need to dig deeper
> > into Waldorf than what they are told on websites and in parent
> > orientation meetings. That's a good thing.
> > >
> > > Well, what's my point? I think it'd be highly ironic, Diana, as
> > > independent school market gets increasingly competitive if the
> > > Waldorf schools adapt and thus survive at the "expense" of the
> > > Waldorf schools who pioneered the curriculum all these years.
> > If they take the good part of Waldorf and get rid of the ugly part
> > (Anthroposophy), then this would be a good thing. I still think
> > should be Waldorf/Anthroposophy centers too, but I think there is
> > of room for a school that brings Waldorf without the dogma of
> > Anthroposophy (and the dogmatic teachers that go along with it).
> I was thinking it's the separation that's may be causing the
> disintergration in the first place. It seems to me with all the
> concern about lying that you are pointing to a lack of integrity or
> dis-integration. Maybe I say this more for the enneagram people out
> there. Integration, health, light versus disintegration, illness,
> shadow? No?
The true nature of a private Waldorf school is an interconnectedness
with Anthroposophy. If Waldorf schools didn't deceive parents about
this connection, then the people who didn't wanted their children
immersed in Anthroposophy during their school years would avoid those
schools. Of course, for many parents who discover Waldorf, the issue
is not as much the Anthroposophy as it is they lying and deception and
lack of safety standards. Many parents, particularly fathers but many
mothers as well, who enter the Waldorf kindergarten with their child,
express that they get an uncomfortable feeling - that everything isn't
as it appears. Some can't see past the wood and silk, but others
observe the teachers and notice, for example, that children with a
simple question are redirected instead of having their question
answered. Many parents don't want to put their kids in an environment
where their curiosity is squelched. There are, of course, many
parents who know what Anthroposophy is and want this kind of
environment for their children. For them, Waldorf schools should exist.
> But I think we're talking about two different settings perhaps. You
> may be talking about say-a charter versus an anthroposophically-based
Yes, but not necessarily. I think a new, independent, private school
system could emerge that provides the Waldorf feel without the
Anthroposophy. A school with emphasis on art without the "spiritual
significance" attached to what the children paint. A school where it
is as OK to play with dinosaurs and trucks as it is to play with
gnomes and dragons. Such a school would have no trouble attracting
> So here you could have a situation where the curriculum is
> adapted and the methods applied to the extent that they can be where
> common sense and the teachers connection to their work and their
> students is paramount.
> I was talking about Waldorf School teachers who may not "give a shit"
> as Diana put it and how that could be. I was thinking of some very
> wounded individuals whose pride, I guess it would be, would hinder
> them from taking the necessary first inner step on a spiritual path
> that they are outwardly very committed to. Again, with anthroposophy
> this would be a real possibility because Steiner GAVE us so much that
> he asked us to confirm with our own work.
Steiner's path is a difficult one, to be sure. Many teachers, at the
end of the day, just aren't up to it. And, yes, because they are
unwilling to confirm through exercises, the validity of Steiner's
work, their pride stands in the way of their spiritual enlightenment.
So what we have is people who are doing the reading, perhaps, but not
doing the work - and these people are very proud and controlling. The
result is what we witness in Waldorf, teachers who are interested in
nothing other than controlling other parents, teachers and
administrators with "Steiner said" and all the while not really
understanding what Steiner *meant*. Certainly, anyone who chooses
Anthroposophy as a spiritual path must *do the work* - otherwise, it's
> > > Because
> > > its not after all the smartest who survive or the most spiritual
> > > the most adaptive. And Waldorf schools apparently have nothing to
> > > learn, the way I hear it told here, there, and everwhere at
> > > about safety, responsibility, accountability, governance, and
> > > leadership. Because we have arrived, we are it, the pinnacle, the
> > > peak. In all facets of school life? Well where can you go really
> > > there?
> > I sense sarcasm here <G>.
> No, it's a real question. The striving human being thing...
OK, so you're suggesting that Waldorf schools are the most adaptive
schools? And that's why they survive? I would suggest to you that
Waldorf schools absolutely *don't* addapt - that they remain stuck in
turn-of-the-century ideas about child development. They seem to
"thrive" because they are a religious endevour and as such, people
feel they have a responsibility to make Waldorf schools everywhere.
I'm not sure, at all, that the numbers of Waldorf schools world-wide
are accurate - I haven't a clue who counts them, but every year there
seems to be a hundred more added to the number without any mention of
who they are. So I'm taking the number of Waldorf schools with a
grain of salt, as well as the idea that they are proliferating.
Safety, responsibility, accountability, governance, and
leadership are all areas in our school where there are serious
problems. Safety, I've already talked about. Responsibility/
accountability, we've discussed (circling the wagons).
Governance... the school required a complete reorganization because
the College of Teachers QUIT. There was too much bickering and
controlling among the teachers that they disbanded rather than put up
with each other any longer. Leadership? More problems - the
leadership of the school was inept. The head administrator was a
disaster, leading the school into crisis after crisis. So a
professional Waldorf governance expert was brought in to reorganize
the school. He created several panels, we thought to try to wrest
control away from the controllers. Unfortunately, he put the same
controlling people back in positions of control. And by dispersing a
single position over a panel, what he did was take away
accountability. Now, it's an panel of 5 or 7 or 9 that is accountable
for everything that goes wrong at the school. Nobody loses their job
over anything, no matter how bad.
> Waldorf schools have survived for some time
> > by deceit. Even dodo birds survived for some period of time. The
> > popularity of the internet has sounded the death knell of Waldorf
> > deceit (I pray). The exposure of the practice of deceiving parents
> > going to hurt Waldorf - and it already has. More scrutiny on
> > schools will ensue and some day John Stossle will be reporting on
> > phenomenon.
> Or one could look at it as they've survived this long by the grace of
> God, or divine intervention, or because of their really good karma!!!
Oh, I don't think their karma is all that good. Maybe someone else
might think so, but I'm pretty sure their karma has caught up with them.
> Could be but then I'd say-gee must not be too far along on their
> journey (let alone having arrived) because then you know what they'd
> have going for them, Pete? Instant Karma-just like the song says.
OK, so instant karma? Crisis after crisis, year after year, 25% of
the student body leaving in disgust every year. That's instant karma.
> Again, IMO, this is never going to happen-the investigative report-
> in this country anyway.
Who knows - maybe if we're lucky, the light will shine on Waldorf, and
huge reforms will take place - and some day Waldorf will be a good thing.