WALDORF / STEINER 

NEWS ARCHIVE


September, 2017






The news items below are presented in reverse chronological order — newest first, oldest last. Please excuse a certain amount of repetitionItems that now appear close together on the screen may have originally been separated by intervals of several days.

Many of the items in this archive generalize about Waldorf schools, describing them as Rudolf Steiner and leading Waldorf representatives have said they should be and as evidence shows they often are today. Not all Waldorf schools, Waldorf charter schools, and Waldorf-inspired schools conform to this model precisely. To evaluate an individual school, you should carefully examine its stated purposes, its practices (which may or may not be consistent with its stated purposes), and the composition of its faculty. 

If any of the terminology used here ("Anthroposophy," etc.) is unfamiliar to you, consulting The Semi-Steiner Dictionary and The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia should help.

Note: There is some overlap between this page and "August - September, 2017".
— Roger Rawlings





September 29






From Stop Steiner in Stroud:


Measles at Wynstones school Stroud

Gloucestershire live reported yesterday that there has been an outbreak of measles at Wynstones Steiner school, and one case at another school.

This does not come as a great surprise, when you take into account the Steiner attitude to vaccination, where it is seen as interfering with the spiritual development of the individual.

I wrote in detail about this in a post entitled “Laying one’s karmic founda­tion in one incarnation for the next” in 2014. The Journal of infectious Diseases lists anthroposophical schools under “affected groups and settings for transmission”.

According to Steiner doctrine,

"… pre­vention of an illness may be beneficial in the course of one incarnation but may not be for the entire soul life and development of the person…”

It is quite sad to read the Glos Live article where health professionals seem unaware of the link between anthroposophy and anti-vaccination. If they had known they could have taken the opportunity to inform the public that there is a specific risk of disease outbreaks in Steiner communities where many children are unvaccinated. Parents in these schools prefer to take their chances with the significant risks of such diseases rather than follow the advice of medical professionals.

Clearly they think their guru from a century ago, Rudolf Steiner, knew better because of his communication with the spirit world. A hundred years of scientific progress means nothing to them and they are prepared to risk not only the health of their children, but that of other vulnerable members of society with low immunity, for example babies too young to be vaccinated.

The secrecy about Steiner beliefs continues to be a danger to us all.








Waldorf Watch Response:

Rudolf Steiner taught that vaccination can be acceptable if it is supplemented by correct spiritual schooling.


“Vaccination will not be harmful if, subsequent to vaccination, the person receives a spiritual education.” — Rudolf Steiner, MANIFESTATIONS OF KARMA (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), p. 166.


Steiner himself offered the correct spiritual education (according to himself); thus, we might think, his followers should be willing to endorse vaccination campaigns. Indeed, we might anticipate that Anthroposophincal organizations of all kinds, including Waldorf schools, would advocate vaccination. Shots could be administered, supplemented by Anthroposophical spiritual tutelage, and all would be well. [See, e.g., "Vaccination" in The BW/S Encyclopedia and "2017.09.22 (vaccines revisited)" at the Ethereal Kiosk.]

Yet in practice, Steiner's followers today are nearly unanimous in distrusting and, often, opposing vaccination. The reasons are wrapped up in the guidance Steiner gave concerning nature, science, and technology. In general, Steiner indicated that natural things (such as organically grown foods) are good [see "Biodynamics"], whereas artificial things (especially modern technological devices) are baleful [see "Technology" in The BW/S Encyclopedia].

Steiner's teachings on all these matters are convoluted; he posited both positive and negative elements in most things, including nature. [See "Neutered Nature".] He made especially equivocal pronouncements about modern science. He sometimes indicated that there is no real conflict between modern science and Anthroposophy (which he dubbed a "spiritual science" or "occult science"). He sometimes conceded that conventional physical science gives an accurate description of the physical universe, and he sometimes said that any apparent contradictions between physical science and spiritual science will vanish when physical science progresses far enough. On the other hand, he was often harshly critical of modern scientists and their works; he clearly knew that his teachings are difficult is not impossible to reconcile with modern science. [See "Science".]

Overall, Anthroposophy leans toward the natural and away from the synthetic. The former is thought to hold beneficial spiritual influences, while materialistic and even demonic influences are suspected in the latter. Anthroposophists are especially fearful of the terrible demon Ahriman [see "Ahriman"], who may rob humans of their souls. Ahriman's dire effects can be unleashed by many human errors, but they are especially triggered when humans fool with technological contrivances, such as steam engines.

"When we build steam-engines, we provide the opportunity for the incarnation of demons ... In the steam-engine, Ahrimanic demons [i.e., Ahriman and his minions] are actually brought to the point of physical embodiment.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Relation of Man to the Hierarchies” (ANTHROPOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, Vol. V, Nos. 14-15, 1928).

Vaccines are, of course, products of modern science and technology, and thus — from an Anthroposophical perspective — they are potentially demonic. Hence, Steiner warned, black magicians in the thrall of demonic powers will produce medicines that deaden people to spirituality: 

“Endeavors to achieve this will be made by bringing out remedies to be administered by inoculation ... [T]hese inoculations will influence the human body in a way that will make it refuse to give a home to the spiritual inclinations of the soul.” — Rudolf Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), pp. 90-91.

Not all vaccines are demonic, according to Steiner. And, as we have seen, Steiner said vaccination can be ok if it is offset by heavy doses of Anthroposophy. Still, for Steiner's followers, a pall of danger and evil hovers over the subject of vaccination — Anthroposophists are on guard against "remedies administered by inoculation" that may possibly destroy "the spiritual inclinations of the soul.”

The consequence for children in Waldorf schools is that — if their parents and teachers share an anti-vaxx perspective — they may be denied treatments that would protect them from various diseases. Waldorf schools may thus often become centers of contagion. [Use the "Search this site" box, above, to find references to "measles" and "vaccination" in the News Archive. We have seen many reports of contagious diseases spreading in Waldorf schools; some can be found further down on this page.] — RR 


















September 29





THE SEATTLE TIMES
[Washington State, USA]

Tacoma’s Weyerhaeuser mansion 
sold to nonprofit for nearly $5.9 million

By Kate Martin
The (Tacoma) News Tribune


The Weyerhaeuser mansion in Tacoma’s North End has been sold for nearly $5.9 million to a nonprofit [named "Trouve"] that announced the Tacoma Waldorf School will occupy the education building on the grounds.

...State records show the nonprofit is registered to Douglas Gill.

...The 5.1-acre property includes several buildings [including] a two-level education building, with space fitted with classrooms, totals 16,200 square feet.

...Chanin Escovedo, dean of students for the Tacoma Waldorf School, said Tuesday she hopes the school can move into the education building over winter break.

“It’s our dream spot,” she said. “We are super excited.”

...For the next 18 months, Gill said, the property will be under historic renovation. After that, a use will be decided for the buildings other than the one occupied by the Waldorf School.

State records indicate Trouve’s purpose is to provide drug and alcohol rehabilitation for veterans. However, via email Gill said the Weyerhaeuser property will not be used for that.

“I can assure you the property will not be used for drug and alcohol rehabilitation at all,” he wrote.


















September 27





A new measles outbreak, this time at a British Steiner school, raises again the issue of the Steiner/Waldorf attitude toward vaccination. Steiner or Waldorf schools usually do not have formal policies opposing vaccination, and they often yield to standard medical advice after a disease has broken out. But the Anthroposophical culture in the schools tends to frown on vaccination, and families opposed to vaccination are often drawn to the schools.

(See, also, stories below about a recent measles outbreak in an Australian Waldorf school. Other stories are reproduced at "August - September, 2017".)



From GloucestershireLive (UK)


Nurses called to county schools after measles outbreak

Vaccine plea from health professionals

by Victoria Temple


A measles outbreak at two schools has prompted health professionals to urge parents to get their children vaccinated.

Nurses have been called to Wynstones School in Brookthorpe to offer vaccines, where up to six children have the highly contagious disease.

Gloucestershire Public Health England (PHE) is asking parents to check that they and their children have received two doses of Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

They say there have been three confirmed and three probable cases of measles at the school and want parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms.

Marling School in Stroud has also advised parents that they have seen one confirmed case of measles.

...Wynstones School is a fee-paying school which follows a Steiner Waldorf curriculum, an alternative to mainstream education, with fees ranging from £2,700 to £9,155 for the oldest years.

The school has around 268 children, aged from three to 18, with a kindergarten for the youngest children and formal classes beginning for those aged six and up.

...Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications but is now uncommon in the UK because of the effective MMR vaccination programme.

...Dr Toyin Ejidokun, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health England South West, said: “Those who are unvaccinated, or not fully vaccinated, remain susceptible to the disease. The cases we have seen recently have affected young children...."


















September 26





Changes are afoot at Rudolf Steiner College, which has been one of the major Waldorf teacher-training institutions in the USA. [See "Teacher Training".] Whether the changes will be more than merely cosmetic remains to be seen.


Rudolf Steiner College

Waldorf Teacher Education - Matriculated Programs

The College is no longer offering any matriculated programs.


RSC [i.e., Rudolf Steiner College] is re-evaluating our offerings and designing more flexible educational opportunities. We are excited by the new opportunities this will bring for us to be more responsive to the changing needs of the schools and teachers, as they strive to meet their students' needs within a shifting educational landscape.

While we are no longer offering any of our programs, RSC continues to provide a rich array of personal and professional development workshops, conferences and events throughout the year. Please visit our website for the latest information on our current events. and opportunities to deepen and expand your knowledge in the areas of anthroposophy, Waldorf education, the arts, personal transformation, and more. You may sign up for our email newsletter by entering your email address in the space provided at the bottom of our homepage (steinercollege.edu)

There are other Waldorf Teacher Training institutions located across North America. Please visit the website of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (awsna.org); they have a list of institutions.

















September 23





From the WALDORF TODAY newsletter:


Elderberries Cafe


By Laura Summer


In Los Angeles, on Sunset Boulevard, in the middle of Hollywood, there is an initiative that I think is, even after nine years, a bit of a secret in the Waldorf world of anthroposophy. Elderberries Café is a vegan/organic/gluten and soy free café dedicated to bringing the ideas of spiritual science into the world … And now the anthroposophical society in Chicago has asked Elderberries to start a café in Chicago. They are gearing up to do so and thereby spread this work to the heartland of the United States.








Waldorf Watch Response:

Anthroposophists use many techniques in their missionary work. Setting up organic cafes is one. Customers lured in by tasty edibles may also find themselves nudged, ever so politely, toward Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner, and perhaps Waldorf education.


Note that “spiritual science” is Anthroposophy. At least, this is how Rudolf Steiner’s followers use the term. The Elderberries Cafe exists not so much to feed the peckish as to bring “the ideas of spiritual science [i.e., Anthroposophy] into the world.”


Note, also, the tight connection between Anthroposophy and Waldorf schools, acknowledged implicitly in this little news item. The existence of the Elderberry Cafe is not as well known as perhaps it should be in “the Waldorf world of anthroposophy.”


If you find yourself drawn into an enterprise (a cafe, a winery, a school) having a mystical vibe, and if you find that “spiritual science” seems to be on offer — you should catch the drift. Quite likely, you are being targeted by devout, proselytizing followers of the Austrian occultist named Rudolf Steiner. You might want to raise your guard.


(People of Chicago — you have been notified.) — RR 


















September 22





Triggered by recent reports of a measles outbreak at a Waldorf school (see items below), a debate about the advisability of vaccination has been occurring at the Waldorf Critics discussion site [https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/conversations/messages]. Historian Peter Staudenmaier posted a message there today. Here is an excerpt:


There has been some interesting recent research on [the reasons people embrace irrational beliefs] from cognitive psychologists and others; one especially appropriate article appeared a couple years ago in the Public Library of Science: Browne et al … [The authors] conclude that "vaccination scepticism appears to be the outcome of a particular cultural and psychological orientation leading to unwillingness to engage with the scientific evidence." 


The same patterns arise fairly consistently not just with credulous anti-vaxx folks and others drawn to conspiracy fables. They are also common with Anthroposophists. One of the unfortunate aspects of [Rudolf] Steiner's legacy, among too many of his followers, is a propensity toward a similar failure of critical thinking and a similar neglect of analysis and reflection. In Anthroposophist contexts, this failure can all too easily turn into outright rejection of critical reasoning, analysis, and judgment — the very things that are necessary to tell sense from nonsense, about immunization or anything else.




















September 20






A new book scheduled to be released by SteinerBooks in October, 2017:




[SteinerBooks, 2017]



From the description posted by SteinerBooks:


Karsten Massei — who is exceptionally sensitive to the invisible beings of life [1] that surround us always and everywhere — offers a gentle but powerful call, from those beings themselves, to discard superstition [2] and begin to awake to the reality of life. 

As beings of the living Earth, we have certain responsibilities, too long neglected. The Earth is not an abstraction — a dead “rock” hurtling through space — but a living being. [3] The elemental beings, who are intimately, intrinsically connected to the living Earth and to the living human race, suffer from our indifference, egoism, and ignorance of life, but they have much to teach us and patiently await our attention. 

“Know your environment!” It can begin with this book.

CONTENTS

    1. The World of the Elemental Beings
    2. Nature Spirits
    3. Gates to the Elemental Beings
    4. Elemental Beings and Human Beings
    5. Caring for the Earth
    6. Verses of Blessing [4]








Waldorf Watch Response:

Here we are, in the 21st century, and Anthroposophists continue to believe the fantastical, mystical, occult teachings of Rudolf Steiner. [See, e.g., "Today 4" and "Today 5".]

There may be little harm in Anthroposophists' delusions — except when Anthroposophists work as teachers in Waldorf schools, where they may lure children into the same set of delusions. — RR 




[1] According to Anthroposophical belief, elemental beings (also called nature spirits) are invisible presences that reside within the four elements of nature. Gnomes reside in earth, sylphs in air, undines in water, and "salamanders" or fire spirits reside in fire. [See "Neutered Nature".]

[2] Anthroposophists turn this word inside out. Whereas most rational people today would consider Anthroposophy to be superstitious [see "Superstition"], Anthroposophists argue that modern science is a superstition. Thus, they dismiss the ideas that the Earth is "a dead 'rock'." They want to see spirit everywhere, including in material substances. So the do see spirit everywhere (even if this means mistaking dreams for reality).

[3] Steiner generally taught that the Earth is a living being that breathes and has emotions. 

“‘Just think children, our Earth feels and experiences everything that happens within it ... [I]t has feelings like you have, and can be angry or happy like you.’” — Rudolf Steiner, DISCUSSIONS WITH TEACHERS  (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 132.

Sometimes, however, Steiner said that the Earth was once alive but has since died. Anthroposophists often tend to overlook this second Steiner teaching, which is less pleasing to them.

[4] The "verses" used by Anthroposophists — and those used in Waldorf schools — are often prayers written by Rudolf Steiner. [See "Prayers".] Anthroposophy is, at root, a religion [see "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"], and Waldorf schools generally work to promote this religion [see "Schools as Churches"].
— R.R.

















September 16





THE TELEGRAPH

Safeguarding fears mount over controversial Steiner schools

By Camilla Turner, education editor 


...[A]n investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has revealed that the inspectors have raised concerns about safeguarding at almost half of Steiner schools in the country in the past four years. 

Several of the 22 independent Steiner schools — which charge up to £12,000 per year in fees — have faced regulatory action by the Department for Education (DfE), amid fears over child safety.... 

[E]mergency inspections have been ordered at eight of the schools. 

It comes after Britain's flagship Steiner school was ordered to shut down....

Earlier this month, The Sunday Telegraph revealed that The Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley, which is appealing against the order to close, issued an apology to children and their families for “real and serious failings going back several years”....

Briefings produced by civil servants — obtained under freedom of information laws — raised serious concerns about Steiner schools years ago, when the DfE had dozens of applications to set up state-funded Steiner free schools....

Despite the warnings, ministers have approved four state-funded Steiner schools since 2010, two of which were marked as “requiring improvement” at their most recent Ofsted inspection....

A spokesman for the DfE said: “Where an inspection finds that a school is not meeting the independent school standards we may take regulatory action.”



















September 16





PTLEADER
[Port Townsend, Washington]


Healing land, healing humans
Biodynamic farm grows in nature’s rhythm


[by] Katie Kowalski, arts@ptleader.com


“This place is entrusted to us – to make it the most healthy and vital piece of land is really important.”

Beth Ann O’Dell, a teacher and farm administrator at Sunfield Land for Learning, said the farm on which its K-8 Waldorf school thrives is now a key focus for the nonprofit education center in Port Hadlock.

“Our school is already doing really well,” O’Dell said of the Waldorf school. “The farm is ready for the next phase of its development.”

The 81-acre farm, which is to be featured on the 2017 Jefferson County Farm Tour and has been certified organic since 2012, reached a milestone in January of this year when it officially received its biodynamic certification.

The objective of biodynamic farming is to treat the land as a self-nourishing living organism, O’Dell said.

The philosophy behind the method was developed by Waldorf education founder Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s. O’Dell said that Steiner, who was one of the forerunners of organic farming, envisioned biodynamic farming as a way to bring back health and vitality to a land wrecked with the chemicals that were introduced at the turn of the century.

“It’s really to heal the earth,” O’Dell said of the principles behind biodynamic farming, and by extension, “to heal the human being” ....







Waldorf Watch Response:

This is the sort of wide-eyed coverage Waldorf schools and biodynamic farms often receive from small local newspapers and other media. A Waldorf school "thrives" on a large, "self-nourishing living" farm. The picture drawn is delightful.

But when reporters dig a little deeper into Waldorf matters, the picture can change.

Waldorf schools often have biodynamic gardens on their campuses, and students are often requited to work in these gardens. Having an entire biodynamic farm associated with a Waldorf school takes everything to a higher level, and a reporter may be forgiven for being impressed. Biodynamic agriculture is, arguably, one of Rudolf Steiner's more productive initiatives. But when we look more closely, we discover that it is extremely strange. Fundamentally, biodynamics is organic agriculture combined with magic and astrology. [See "Biodynamics".] Recognizing the mystical and occult underpinnings of biodynamics changes the picture. 

Recognizing Rudolf Steiner's real attitude toward nature can also change the picture. Steiner — who claimed to be clairvoyant — taught that nature is a realm of invisible, amoral beings such as gnomes or goblins. [See "Neutered Nature" and "Gnomes".] So, once again, what had seemed so charming takes on a different appearance — mystical and occult —  when we look more closely.




Healing the Earth and healing human beings are certainly noble goals. Whether Steiner equipped his followers to undertake these tasks is, however, doubtful. Steiner's followers consider themselves to be on a messianic mission to remake virtually all human institutions in accordance with mystical and occult Anthroposophical teachings. They believe that they work in cooperation with numerous beneficent gods, and they struggle to overcome the foul designs of numerous demons. [See "Threefolding", "Polytheism", and "Evil Ones".]

Waldorf education is the foremost branch of the revolutionary — mystical, occult — Anthroposophical movement. [See "Here's the Answer".] Seeing Waldorf in this context changes the picture.




How well the Sunfield Waldorf School is doing ("Our school is already doing really well") may also be open to question. The school is fairly new and evidently quite small. According to one report, the school recently had 95 students, including 8 in the preschool program. The bulk of the student body (32) was in the Kindergarten. The largest class after that was fifth grade, with 15 students. Sixth grade had 3 students, seventh grade 1 student, and eighth grade 2 students. [http://preschools.startclass.com/l/314254/Sunfield-Farm-And-Waldorf-School] The school itself reports "Today there are over one-hundred children enrolled in our school." [http://sunfieldfarm.org/about/our-history/] — RR 


















September 16





On the subject of vaccination, Waldorf schools can show some flexibility. 
While they generally lean against vaccination, they can yield to pressure. 
[See "Aug-Sept, '17", item dated August 25.] 
The reason for this flexibility is that Rudolf Steiner did not absolutely 
forbid vaccination — he only pointed to problems and drawbacks. 

The following is from the AnthroMed Library:


[I]t is important to point out that there is no formalized policy on immunization within the practice of anthroposophic medicine. Anthroposophic medicine sees humans as passing through successive earthly lives in­carnated in a physical body ... Illness comes to an individual not by chance but as an opportunity to come to terms with one's karma from previous incarnations. Ill­ness provides an individual with a message which ulti­mately assists in self-growth and development. The re­sponsibility of a healer is to assist the human being expe­riencing the illness to deal with it karmically. Thus, pre­vention of an illness may be beneficial in the course of one incarnation but may not be for the entire soul life and development of the person....


Thus, anthroposophic and con­ventional medicine have dramati­cally different viewpoints as to what causes common childhood illnesses. Conventional medicine views child­hood illnesses for which vaccines have been developed as a physical disease, inherently bad, to be pre­vented. Their main goal, therefore, is protection against contracting the disease making one free of illness. In contrast, these childhood illnesses are viewed by anthroposophic medi­cine as a necessary instrument in dealing with karma....


In Manifestations of Karma, Rudolf Steiner states that humans may be able to influence their karma and remove the manifestation of cer­tain conditions, i.e., disease, but they may not be liberated from the karmic effect which attempted to produce them. Says Steiner, "...if the karmic reparation is escaped in one direc­tion, it will have to be sought in another ... the souls in question would then be forced to seek another way for karmic compensation either in this or in another incarnation."


[downloaded 9-16-2017   http://www.anthromed.org/Article.aspx?artpk=764   Note that this material has been on the Internet for some years.]






Waldorf Watch Response:

Conventional medicine seeks to protect children from disease in essentially all cases; the goal is "making one free of illness." Anthroposophical medicine may aim to protect a child from a particular disease, or it may not. The overriding consideration is karma. If a child "needs" a certain illness, Anthroposophical doctors may withhold curative and/or preventative treatment. Kids may be "allowed" to get sick.

Parents who do not believe in karma — or who doubt that Anthroposophists can know what a specific child's karma may be — should avoid Anthroposophical medicine. This may mean, in practice, avoiding Waldorf schools where Anthroposophical medicine is practiced or advocated. — RR 


















September 16





Currently featured at the Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore:





[Wynstones Press, 2014]


Discovering the Zodiac in the Raphael Madonna Series, by Brian Gray

This book explores Raphael's paintings of the Madonna that express secret truths. Rudolf Steiner described the healing effects of Raphael's Madonnas in August 1908, and between 1908 and 1911 he directed Dr. Felix Peipers to arrange fifteen images as a therapeutic meditation for patients suffering from emotional disturbances. Sometimes called the Raphael Madonna Series, these fifteen pictures invite our active contemplation. Each image can awaken inner pictures that lift us into communion with realms beyond the physical world, stirring our feelings of wonder and reverence and opening our souls to divine mysteries.



















September 15





Strong Anti-Immunization Preference

While there may not be an official position on immunization at Waldorf, there does seem to be a strong cultural anti-immunization preference among thought-leaders in the Waldorf community. This preference can be traced back to Steiner himself, who believed that immunization interferes with karmic development and the cycles of reincarnation. Steiner says:

"We also understand why, among the best minds of our period, there exists a kind of aversion to vaccination... This would constitute the indispensable counterpart without which we are performing only half our task. We are merely accomplishing something to which the person in question will himself have to produce a counterpart in a later incarnation. If we destroy the susceptibility to smallpox, we are concentrating only on the external side of karmic activity."

Many respected Waldorf leaders share this view today. For example, in the article "Childhood Illness: Waldorf View," childhood disease is described as a "rite of passage" of childhood. The article suggests that when a child endures measles it is "as though he or she has had a form of ritual experience."

"At the higher emotional and mental levels, negative forces such as greed and selfishness have also been expelled. So a child who has measles is afterwards less self-centered and more openhearted, and often more able to express his or her individuality. The personality becomes rounder and fuller, and more joyful and contented, as a step towards maturity and adulthood."

So, if you are concerned about a self-centered or restless child, perhaps you might consider exposing them to measles. Complications may arise, but it suggests that:

Serious complications in childhood illness which produce permanent damage or even death are probably deeply founded in the destiny of the person concerned.

So, don't be alarmed if your child dies from a preventable disease because he/she is not immunized, it was probably their destiny. It clearly wasn't their destiny to be immunized.


[downloaded 9-15-2017  http://www.openwaldorf.com/health.html  Note that this material has been on the Internet for some years.]



















September 11





From a posting at the Waldorf Critics list:


Measles outbreaks continue to occur in Europe as a result of suboptimum vaccination coverage … Several outbreaks have emerged in Roma and Sinti, Traveller, anthroposophic, and ultra-orthodox Jewish communities…


2008, Austria, Anthroposophic community — Of the 394 outbreak cases, 123 were in students attending anthroposophic educational facilities in Salzburg. The outbreak spread to other members of the anthroposophic community and the general population.


2008, Netherlands, Anthroposophic community — The outbreak primarily involved students in two anthroposophic schools. It extended to involve the family members of the students. 


2009, Austria, Anthroposophic community — An outbreak involving 37 cases spread from the general population (12 cases) to an anthroposophic community (25 cases). 


…Many outbreaks consisted of a series of transmission chains in families and household contacts. However, several others had their foci in school settings. Schools and daycare centers embracing philosophies and religious beliefs that oppose vaccination were particularly affected. These included anthroposophic schools, also known as Steiner or Waldorf schools, and traditionalist religious schools.










 








September 7





STROUD NEWS AND JOURNAL

Former director of Downfield Sixth Form 
in attempt to rescue Hertfordshire school

Sam Evans @samevanssnj
Reporter



THE former director of Downfield Sixth Form will attempt to rescue a school that has been ordered to close by the Government.


Tim Byford is appealing the decision to close Rudolf Steiner School in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire....


The latest report in May gave the school a rating of inadequate, sighting safeguarding as a real issue.


Lead inspector Philippa Darley said: "Leaders have underplayed and misrepresented the school's safeguarding failings to parents...."


The inspectors also found that the while the leader of safeguarding at the school was highly regarded by her colleagues her "understanding of safeguarding is not comprehensive".


Ms Darley said: "Records of pupils going off-site at lunchtime continue to be poorly kept. It is not always clear if pupils have returned to school. This poses a safeguarding risk."


The closeness between staff and students was also an issue for inspectors with a senior member of staff Dennis McCarthy being dismissed in January for gross misconduct.


"Professional boundaries between staff, parents and pupils are not maintained," said Ms Darley.


"Staff, including senior leaders, do not follow the school's own policies on social media access.


"Parents arrange for pupils to see their teachers, and former teachers, off the school site. This culture is unchanged...."
















September 5





From the Quackometer Blog:


The Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley’s Fight For Existence


SCHOOL KINGS LANGLEY HIRES PRINCESS DIANA'S LAWYER TO APPEAL CLOSURE



The Telegraph reports in an ‘exclusive’ that Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley (RSSKS) has been ordered to close by the government. Six weeks ago, I reported on how the School had received a series of terrible inspection reports that resulted in the school being unable to take on new pupils. The Secretary of State for Education has now issued a notice for the school to be deregistered and closed.


The last Ofsted inspection report was damning and horrifying. At the heart of the problems were failures in child protection issues. One teacher, Denis McCarthy, was sacked for ‘gross misconduct’, although the nature of the misconduct has not been made public.


The School was due to close last week, but has lodged an appeal and will open for the new term today.


A central part of the concerns were over “a culture of close relationships” between pupils and teachers. These relationships extended beyond the professional relationships you would expect in a school.


Anyone with knowledge of the philosophy of Steiner Schools will understand that “a culture of close relationships” is a feature of Steiner Schools generally and not a single isolated aberrant example in this school. A defining attribute of Steiner Schools is how one teacher may stay with a class for many years and is encouraged to develop strong and personal bonds with children.


Kevin Avison, who is an ‘Executive Officer’ of the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship UK (the body that oversees Steiner standards), has written in ‘A Handbook for Waldorf (Steiner) Class Teachers’ exactly what is required of them in their relationships with pupils. For example, in a chapter entitled “How to make it difficult for anyone else to teach your class – ever!”, Avison says,


Tell the class frequently that they are a very special group (they must be to have you as a teacher) and let them know implicitly and explicitly that you are the only person fit and able to teach them. Alongside this, it helps to hint frequently that no-one else can or could handle them as you do.


Make a particular point of cultivating the strongest leaders in the class so that they see you as their special ally, the only adult who understands them.


Ensure that class evenings have as much as possible the quality of a party held in your own home.


Rewards, for example chocolates (especially if the school rule is no chocolate), should be awarded to indicate how pleased you are with an individual (and, of course, it’s “our secret”).


The Steiner Education approach is based on the clairvoyant visions of the mystic and esotericist Rudolf Steiner. His occult religious movement ‘Anthroposophy’ underpins all aspects of the school curriculum and approach. I have previously written about how the closed, cult-like movement behind these schools provides a dangerous environment for children. Although the schools often say that they ‘do not teach Anthroposophy’, Steiner Schools are indeed Anthroposophical Schools in that every aspect of the curriculum, school structure, teaching methods and governance is determined by the occult teachings of Rudolf Steiner on education, including the need to build these ‘close relationships’.


Whistleblowers have reported how this ‘close relationship’ cultivated within Steiner Schools can lead to obvious problems.... 


...I am quite sure the issues raised at Kings Langley are intrinsic to the nature of Steiner education and not an example of extraordinary circumstances.... 


It is possible that Kings Langley and other Steiner Schools have got away with this for so long because of serious failings in the inspection regime.... 


The Government have known for many years about problems within the schools.... 


The School has stated that it is appealing the decision to close and while it does so will remain open.... 


To this end, the school has appointed some very serious lawyers from the firm Mishcon de Reya. Their chief lawyer, Anthony Julius, is very high-profile and was Princess Diana’s divorce lawyer....


Hiring such lawyers will not be cheap. Indeed, it is amazing that the school in itself could afford to do so. Steiner Schools are run on a shoestring with private fees being typically much less than other private schools. However, the Steiner movement itself has lots of cash with many profitable businesses associated with Anthroposophy and Rudolf Steiner, such as Triodos BankSoftware AG and Weleda healthcare.


As well as the financial and legal threats to the school, it must also now face the reputational crisis of the threatened deregistration....


[T]his is a fight the Anthroposophical movement cannot afford to lose. The School has said to parents it is committed to delivering a full Steiner education. I would contend this is impossible if it wants to succeed in an appeal and pass future inspections. The failings in the inspections [are] due to the intrinsic nature of the Anthroposophical curriculum and belief system. There will be great tensions between the anthroposophical committed members of staff, the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship who oversee such schools, and those progressives in staff and parents who want the school to move on. This is a battle that always rages in Steiner education between those who simply want the school to be ‘inspired’ by Steiner and those who demand it adheres strictly to an Anthroposophical approach with all the occult and crypto-religious paraphernalia. So far, the Anthroposophist tend to win. You cannot be a Steiner School without Anthroposophy....



















September 5





From THE TIMES
(London, UK):


Steiner school battle

The Rudolf Steiner School in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, faces closure after an Ofsted report raised concerns over “a culture of close relationships”, including pupils meeting teachers off-site, that put children at risk. A member of staff was dismissed in January for gross misconduct following safeguarding concerns. The school will stay open while it appeals against closure.


















September 5





At The Quackometer Blog [http://www.quackometer.net/blog/], Andy Lewis has an extended response to the news about the Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley (RSSKS).

A few excerpts:


The Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley’s Fight For Existence


The last Ofsted inspection report was damning and horrifying. At the heart of the problems were failures in child protection issues ...

A central part of the concerns were over “a culture of close relationships” between pupils and teachers. These relationships extended beyond the professional relationships you would expect in a school.

Anyone with knowledge of the philosophy of Steiner Schools will understand that “a culture of close relationships” is a feature of Steiner Schools generally and not a single isolated aberrant example in this school. A defining attribute of Steiner Schools is how one teacher may stay with a class for many years and is encouraged to develop strong and personal bonds with children ...

The Steiner Education approach is based on the clairvoyant visions of the mystic and esotericist Rudolf Steiner. His occult religious movement ‘Anthroposophy’ underpins all aspects of the school curriculum and approach. I have previously written about how the closed, cult-like movement behind these schools provides a dangerous environment for children. Although the schools often say that they ‘do not teach Anthroposophy’, Steiner Schools are indeed Anthroposophical Schools in that every aspect of the curriculum, school structure, teaching methods and governance is determined by the occult teachings of Rudolf Steiner on education, including the need to build these ‘close relationships’.

Whistleblowers have reported how this ‘close relationship’ cultivated within Steiner Schools can lead to obvious problems ...

I am quite sure the issues raised at Kings Langley are intrinsic to the nature of Steiner education and not an example of extraordinary circumstances. The issues raised here will be present in many, if not all, Steiner Schools in the UK, including those opened recently by Michael Gove under the Free School programme. This would perhaps explain the school’s responses to the series of inspections and their failure to deal with the issues raised. The last report accused the school of failures to address these issues and of misleading parents. ...

...[T]his is a fight the Anthroposophical movement cannot afford to lose. The School has said to parents it is committed to delivering a full Steiner education. I would contend this is impossible if it wants to succeed in an appeal and pass future inspections. The failings in the inspections [are] due to the intrinsic nature of the Anthroposophical curriculum and belief system. There will be great tensions between the anthroposophical committed members of staff, the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship who oversee such schools, and those progressives in staff and parents who want the school to move on. This is a battle that always rages in Steiner education between those who simply want the school to be ‘inspired’ by Steiner and those who demand it adheres strictly to an Anthroposophical approach with all the occult and crypto-religious paraphernalia. So far, the Anthroposophist tend to win. You cannot be a Steiner School without Anthroposophy.


















September 5





This is late; I missed the story when it first appeared. Note that the school subsequently agreed to let the Health Department set up the mobile clinic. This is typical. When Waldorf schools bow to the need for vaccination, they tend to do so belatedly and begrudgingly. (Their underlying Anthroposophical belief is that vaccinations are neither generally needed nor ultimately beneficial.) — RR



Vaccination clinic offer ignored after measles scare at Perth Waldorf School

By Rebecca Trigger
Updated 9 Aug 2017, 4:16am
Wed 9 Aug 2017, 4:16am


An alternative private school where a number of unvaccinated children may have been exposed to measles has not responded to the WA Government's offer of a mobile clinic to immunise vulnerable students.

It has also emerged the institution's administrator previously ran for Parliament on a platform opposing a no-jab, no-play government health campaign restricting childcare placements for unvaccinated children.

…It has been reported up to half of the school's 400 students could be unvaccinated, but the school has not released details.






Waldorf Watch Response:

The following is from the old Waldorf Watch “news” page, responding to a previous measles breakout at an Australian Steiner school:


Waldorf or Steiner schools usually do not formally discourage childhood vaccination, but they generally oppose it at least informally, and they often attract families who oppose it. According to Rudolf Steiner, preventing illnesses can be a mistake, since a child's karma may require her to suffer certain illnesses. Steiner also taught that black magicians will create vaccines that destroy human spirituality. Because of such beliefs, Waldorf schools are often focal points for dangerous, preventable childhood diseases.

Steiner on the karmic need for diseases, even fatal ones:

“[P]eople may virtually be driven to places where it is possible to get an infection in order to find in this the compensating effects for certain karmic causes within them; people are even driven to what one might call fatal life events to find such compensation.” — Rudolf Steiner, MANIFESTATIONS OF KARMA (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), p. 167.

Steiner on the conspiracy to create spirit-destroying vaccines: 

"[C]ertain inoculations will be used to influence the human body in such a way that it provides no place for the spiritual proclivities of the soul. Human beings will be immunised against any predisposition for spiritual ideas ... [Evildoers] will try by inoculation to bring it about that even in childhood, human beings lose the urge towards the spiritual life." — Rudolf Steiner, BEHIND THE SCENES OF EXTERNAL HAPPENINGS (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1947), lecture 1, GA 178.

[8-9-2017   (downloaded 9-5-2017)   https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatchannex/november-2011] 
— R.R. 

















September 2







Telegraph News


Exclusive: Top Steiner school ordered to close 

by Government over child safety fears



[by] Camilla Turner, education editor



Britain’s flagship Steiner school has been ordered to close amid fears over child safety, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.


The Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley had already been banned by the Department for Education (DfE) from admitting any new pupils, following a series of damning Ofsted inspections which uncovered a raft of safeguarding failings.


It comes after Denis McCarthy, a senior staff member who was also a leading figure in the UK’s Steiner school movement, was sacked from the school for gross misconduct.


“He was a senior figure in anthroposophy,” a source close to the school told The Sunday Telegraph. “He was the most powerful person in the school, he had a large following.


“The school did everything that they could to protect him: minimising or dismissing concerns, and deleting safeguarding emails."


The development raises questions about the 34 other Steiner schools in the UK and Ireland, which includes four state funded Steiner academies....


The Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley charges up to £9,570-a-year in fees and is set on ten acres of grounds on the site of a 13th-century Plantagenet royal palace in Hertfordshire.


The school has issued a public apology to children and their families for “real and serious failings going back several years”, acknowledging that it failed to act on “repeated concerns raised by parents” over safeguarding.


The school was notified in July of the Secretary of State for Education’s intention to remove it from the independent schools’ register, a decision which the school is now appealing.... 

















September 2






Measles spike prompts govt warnings

The hospitalisation of a child with measles has prompted 
WA Health to urge parents to vaccination their children.

Greg Roberts
Australian Associated Press
AUGUST 30, 20173:17PM


West Australian parents are being urged to vaccinate their children by the health department after a seriously ill child was hospitalised with measles amid a spike in cases.

There have been four cases that started with an unvaccinated year 10 student from a Perth alternative Steiner school who returned from Italy with measles.

All of the new cases appeared in unvaccinated children who could have had life-long immunity from the contagious and potentially deadly virus, said WA Health's Professor Paul Effler.

The affected children are students from the Perth Waldorf School in Bibra Lake and Steiner schools are renowned for low immunisation rates among students with parents that oppose vaccinations....

















For previous news coverage,
see











































[R.R., 2017]