- THE WALDORF TEACHER's
SURVIVAL GUIDE, a 67-page pamphlet, published in 1992 and
written by Eugene Schwartz, head of the Waldorf teacher training program
at Sunbridge College in Spring Valley, N.Y. The "Guide" says,
on page 54: "Most of that which contributes to our work as teachers,
preparation work, artistic work, even meditative work, is under the guardianship
of Lucifer. We can become great teachers under his supervision, for he
is responsible for much that has blossomed in the unfolding of civilization
and culture in the past."
- SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The
implementation of the Waldorf curriculum -- an educational philosophy related
to the New Age religion "Anthroposophy" -- in some California
public schools, has stirred up controversy as opponents say its use violates
the U.S. Constitution.
- People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools, an unlikely
coalition of liberals and evangelical Christians, has filed suit against
both the Sacramento City Unified School District and Twin Ridges Elementary
School District for allowing public funds to be used to set up schools
which teach the Waldorf curriculum. In the lawsuit, PLANS contends that
public Waldorf schools are "intrinsically and inseparably" based
upon Anthroposophy, a religion that PLANS further contends is occultic
- What is Anthroposophy? "The Waldorf Teacher's Survival
Guide" is designated by the Sacramento City Unified School District
as one of its resource materials for "training or instruction in Waldorf
teaching methods or Waldorf curriculum." WorldNetDaily obtained a
copy of the 67-page pamphlet, published in 1992 and written by Eugene Schwartz,
head of the Waldorf teacher training program at Sunbridge College in Spring
Valley, N.Y. The "Guide" says, on page 54: "Most of that
which contributes to our work as teachers, preparation work, artistic work,
even meditative work, is under the guardianship of Lucifer. We can become
great teachers under his supervision, for he is responsible for much that
has blossomed in the unfolding of civilization and culture in the past."
- In Anthroposophical doctrine, Lucifer is the god of light.
His antagonist is Ahriman, the god of darkness. To balance these two opposing
forces, Christ comes to earth as a sun god.
- Ilna Jue is principal of the John Morse Waldorf Methods
Magnet School, one of the schools named in the suit. She defended her school,
saying, "Our curriculum is the curriculum of the State of California.
With that, we bring the methodologies of Waldorf education."
- Jue described Waldorf methodologies as including arts
such as painting, drama and music. Illustrating the importance of color
in the use of painting in Waldorf education, the book, "Sleep: An
unobserved element in education," by Audrey E. McAllen, notes: "The
colour sequence works as a cleansing re-orientation of soul, helping the
individuality to accept the present incarnation in a physical body. This
is clearly shown in the pictures which pupils make."
- Is the Waldorf curriculum intended to indoctrinate children
in an occult religion? "I think that it's a curriculum that attempts
to be palatable for public consumption," says Danny Aguirre, access
line director at the Spiritual Counterfeits Project in Berkeley, Calif.,
"but there's a strategy to subtly influence the children toward Anthroposophy."
- The Spiritual Counterfeits Project is a Christian think
tank that monitors current trends affecting society, particularly spiritual
- Ironically, Debra Snell, who is now the president of
PLANS, was once involved in Mariposa Waldorf School, a private school in
Cedar Ridge just outside Grass Valley, Calif. When the school closed down,
she and other Waldorf parents investigated the possibility of founding
a charter school that would use Waldorf methods. In August, 1994, Twin
Ridges Elementary School District agreed to sponsor the school. The Twin
Ridges Alternative Charter School, which opened in September 1994, became
the Yuba River Charter School.
- Snell told WorldNetDaily that when she first got involved
in Waldorf schools and pushed for the Yuba River charter, she had no idea
that Waldorf was connected to a religious philosophy.
- "I suppose that you can say that I feel a tremendous
responsibility," Snell said. "I was one of the founders of the
school. I was very naive. I believed it was nonsectarian. When I heard
of Waldorf education, I had never even heard of Anthroposophy."
- Although Snell and other parents like her wanted the
new charter school to utilize credentialed public school teachers who would
loosely use the methodologies of the private Waldorf schools, Snell said
Anthroposophical teachers quickly took over the school. Curious as to what
Anthroposophy was, Snell obtained a copy of the course study book list
from the Rudolf Steiner College, an institution in Fair Oaks, Calif., that
trains Anthroposophical teachers.
- "When I read what the course study was for Waldorf
teachers, I realized right away that it was a religious seminary. There's
no core academic classes in the entire teacher training program,"
- "The required text for the first year includes occult
science, and the spiritual hierarchies, spiritual guidance of man,"
added Snell. I mean, where's the phonics?"
- PLANS had also learned that public school teachers at
the Waldorf methods schools were taught by the Anthroposophists at Rudolf
Steiner College to categorize school children by their Zodiac signs. The
children would be divided into one of "four temperaments."
- WorldNetDaily contacted Scott M. Kendall, the attorney
for PLANS in the case and an affiliate attorney of the Pacific Justice
Institute. "This case is about whether or not Waldorf Schools can
be publicly funded," said Kendall, "because Waldorf schools historically
have been private religious schools, and just recently, over the last ten
years, they've been able to manage to get school boards to publicly fund
them either as magnet schools or as charter schools." "What we're
trying to prove is that the Sacramento City Unified School District (and
Twin Ridges), by having a Waldorf-type school and identifying it as such,
and by having the teacher training being provided by Anthroposophists,
are endorsing the religion called Anthroposophy, which is a New Age occultic
religion," Kendall further explained.
- Jue, trying to draw a contrast with the Waldorf curriculum
in private schools, said that the Waldorf program at her school is not
at all religious.
- "We have been most careful," Jue said. "Our
training has been very secular, if you want to consider Anthroposophy as
a religion. Our training has not even involved Anthroposophy at all."
- Jue added that all of her teachers are credentialed by
the state of California, and that it was only after having received state
credentials that they obtained further certification in Waldorf education
at Rudolf Steiner College.
- "It made sense, since Rudolf Steiner College is
in town, that the training be through them," said Jue. "But again,
it was geared for the public school teacher. It was not geared for the
private school teacher."
- Nevertheless, both Snell and Kendall believe the school
districts' implementation of the Waldorf curriculum violates the First
Amendment's Establishment Clause. According to the Supreme Court, "the
Establishment Clause (has come) to mean that government may not promote
or affiliate itself with any religious doctrine or organization, may not
discriminate among persons on the basis of their religious beliefs and
practices, may not delegate a governmental power to a religious institution,
and may not involve itself too deeply in such an institution's affairs."
- "The basic premise of this case is if a Christian
school or Catholic school tried to receive charter school status or get
public funding, it would be crushed immediately. That would never happen,"
said Kendall. "So basically, the premise of the lawsuit is that New
Age religion should be treated the same way."
- "PLANS does not believe that the school districts
are intentionally promoting religion," Snell said of both the Sacramento
City and Twin Ridges school districts. "What we believe is that unsuspecting
board members have been fraudulently sold religious pedagogy by the Anthroposophical
Rudolf Steiner College."
- Indeed, "The Waldorf Teacher's Survival Guide"
suggests that Anthroposophists are trying to sell their religion through
the Waldorf curriculum: "The time has come for us to stop pussyfooting
around and fearing that we'll sound too strange if we tell the parents
what we are really doing," the guide says. "Well, we are really
doing many things, on many levels, and giving parents a clear picture of
human development is by no means giving away the most esoteric of our work.
Whatever may have been true in the past, the fact is that the parents who
come to us are well aware of spiritual matters -- and I don't only mean
the New Age parents. Many Americans today ascribe to reincarnation; most
Waldorf families know that there are transcendent elements in the human
being. ... If Waldorf education is truly going to be a 'movement for cultural
renewal,' it is our responsibility to share with the parents those elements
of Anthroposophy which will help them understand their children and fathom
the mysterious ways in which we work."
- District Court Judge Frank C. Damrell, Jr., in reviewing
the arguments of both the school districts and PLANS, has so far come to
the conclusion there is substantial evidence that public funding of Waldorf
schools may violate the Constitution. The trial date is currently set for
Feb. 28 of next year. Pacific Justice Institute, the non-profit organization
funding the case for Snell, is confident the judge will rule in favor of
- Speaking for his organization, Brad Dacus said, "In
general, the Court has concluded that this is not a bogus lawsuit, and
it has merit. We're convinced that when the facts are fully addressed before
the court, that we will prevail."