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Re: Waldorf and skepticism  Dan Dugan
 Nov 25, 2002 00:42 PST 
Dan Seaman, you wrote,

 Mr. Dugan,

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You wrote to the editor of a publication, and now you're mad because
your letter got published. Jeez!

 I have no interest in taking part in your mailing list. I would, however, be
more than happy to address your points if you are willing to have a healthy
discussion with me, and not involve your mailing list.

For me, a healthy discussion is in public. I'm sure you can
appreciate that if I engaged everyone who wrote to me in a private
correspondence, I'd have no time for anything else. The only way I'll
hold a dialogue with you is in public; here, on waldorf-critics, or
in another mutually agreeable public forum.

 By the way, for a self described skeptic, I find most of the language used
on your site to be surprisingly rhetorical. If anything, the overall tone of
the site is that of being angry at Waldorf Education.

There are certainly a lot of people mad at the Waldorf movement, and
the cult-like sect behind it. I'm not surprised it shows.

 I'm not sure of your
level of involvement in that actual content of the site, but I think you
should take some time and edit some of the content. As a rational thinker,
I'm sure that your want your position of your organization to be presented
more analytically and with less vitriolic emotion.

We're grass-roots organizers, not academics. We try to tell it as we
see it. We hope we get better at it with experience. Your comments
are appreciated.

 My son reported the same thing went on at the San Francisco Waldorf
School. For you to be "constantly" making fun of Anthroposophy, it
must have been quite present in your school. Where, in particular,
did you run into it?

The word constant was an exaggeration. It did not manifest very much at all,
when it did we took it with a grain of salt.

 It DOES NOT manifest itself within the schools in any sinister way.
What we had was the following:

1) A small high school with very small class sizes.
2) Teachers who took the time to get to know us.
3) An environment that encouraged intellectualism, and freedom of
thought and expression.
4) A school that encouraged creativity (both artistic and intellectual)
4) A high school that prepared us completely for University studies.

You made no comment here. Does that mean that you agree?

I take it at face value as your opinion.

 I realize that these points are anecdotal, but I want you to know
that despite all your criticisms of Waldorf, that the school does
produce logical thinking, skeptics and not just spiritual hippies.

I never said it didn't. I do think every effort is made to foster a
magical world-view. Obviously, in your case, this was unsuccessful.

It was also unsuccessful for _every_ person that graduated with me. Not a
single one carried a "magical world-view" out of the school. Why bother
fighting against a school who's alleged anterior motives fail so completely,
yet has all the advantages listed above?

Maybe your school represents what Waldorf ought to be but rarely
achieves. Maybe you're exaggerating. May we see some lesson books?
I'd particularly like to see the science blocks.

 One point I will agree with you on (and I openly stated this
throughout my high school career) is that Waldorf Schools should,in
no way, be Government subsidized. I I completely believe in the
separation of Church and State.

So you agree with us that Waldorf is a religious school.

I didn't know that was in question. It was never hidden from me, my fellow
students, nor my parents. Unlike Catholic schools (which are completely
subsidized by the government of Ontario), spirituality or religion never
came up in actual classes. For instance, we were taught evaluation, in great
depth, I must say.

You're pretty naive if you think Waldorf schools don't deny being
religious. May we see a copy of your school's brochure? Eugene
Schwartz was fired from his job as Director of Teacher Training at
Sunbridge College for saying that Waldorf should be out front about
its religious nature!

 I doubt that I have in any way swayed your negative feelings about
the Waldorf school, I only wish that you could meet some of the
people that graduated with me because to this day they are some of
the most well adjusted and genuinely good people I have ever known.
A school that produces people like them cannot be that bad.

How much better might it have been without all the nonsense?

I hate to responding to rhetoric with more rhetoric, but here goes: I don't
know how good public schools are in California, but here in Ontario most
schools are approaching 40 students per teacher. Literacy rates are dropping
and schools are literally falling apart. They also suffer high levels of
violence and drug use. How much better might they be without THAT nonsense?

Regarding class size, did you know that the Waldorf tradition leans
toward larger classes? The Catholic elementary school I went to had
50 kids per class, and I got a good education in it.

We've heard many reports of violence and drug use in Waldorf schools,
so that's not a distinguishing characteristic either.

Falling apart? We've heard many reports of Waldorf schools in
dangerous and unhealthful condition.

Putting down public schools is a tactic the Waldorf movement uses to
build brand loyalty. There are good and bad public schools. There are
good and bad Waldorf schools.

 Take care,
-Dan Seaman

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Try a public discussion Dan, let the light in.

-Dan Dugan
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