_Blackbook Waldorf _ pre-publicity
- Michael Grandt's new book _Blackbook Waldorf_ will be published in
Germany next month. Here is my translation of an article about him and
his book in his local newspaper.
Original German article here
WALDORF SCHOOLS UNDER CRITICISM
The author Michael Grandt ignites some highly explosive issues.
BY STEPHANIE APELT
He is considered a specialist for "hot button issues" and sure enough
his new book will once again stir up a hornets' nest: The author
Michael Grandt critiques Waldorf Schools.
Michael Grandt ups the ante. A good ten years ago, his book _Blackbook
Anthroposophy_ (Überreuter Publishing house) created quite a stir. In
his new book, _Blackbook Waldorf_ (September from the Gütersloher
publishing house) he once again proceeds to expose the "myth and
reality of Waldorf."
Why now again? "The clincher was a judgment of the Federal Dept. in
September 2007," he says. By order of the Federal Ministry for
Families, two of Rudolf Steiner's books had been examined. Steiner is
considered to be the founder of anthroposophy, which is the basis of
the curriculum in Rudolf Steiner Schools according to the Waldorf
pedagogy established by him. "The Federal Dept. found racist
statements that might disorient children and adolescents both socially
and ethically." Grandt gets angry: "Every other book would be put on
the index;" but not Steiner's. The [Steiner] publishing house wants to
publish both books in the future with commentaries. Grandt, however,
thinks that is not sufficient. Not only did he file an official
complaint of oversight against the present representatives of the
commission, he himself took up the theme --- something he's never
really abandoned for all these years.
With 224 pages, Grandt assaults the image of Waldorf institutions held
by parents and educational policy makers to be overwhelmingly
positive; institutions which are readily seen as a reform-educational
alternative to regular state schools --- without textbooks, instead an
education that is child-oriented, easy and enjoyable. "The parents
must be honestly and bluntly informed that an occult-esoteric
worldview stands behind this pedagogy."
Grandt's challenges are clear: Waldorf schools must make themselves
more transparent to the public. In addition: Waldorf Schools must
finally admit to themselves that they are schools for an
anthroposophical world view. The anthroposophical teachings must be
examined for conformity to the constitution. Rudolf Steiner schools
(as they are called in Switzerland for example) must be renamed. And
of course, above all else, --- and here is one of the most essential
issues --- all state support for Rudolf Steiner Schools from tax money
must be terminated. "Waldorf Schools in Germany alone last year
received 305 million Euros of public tax money." For Grandt this is
simply not acceptable.
Grandt is clear that Waldorf proponents will not exactly warm to his
idea. But what is it like with the 200 German schools and nearly 1000
schools world-wide where anthroposophy is actually put into practice?
"Of course, speaking on the record, anthroposophy is not taught. But
teachers confirmed to me: It is applied." His _Blackbook Waldorf_ is
"not a polemic," Grandt stresses, but rather "a critical discussion."
His book is much more a "decision-making aid for parents so they may
seriously examine whether or not they wish to entrust their children
to the Waldorf system with all its aspects and its ideological worldview."
Of course Grandt knows: "there will be violent reactions," and the
media echo is already quite loud. But he looks forward to the discussion.