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HPB in the news

Nov 17, 1995 01:14 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

A friend who is managing editor of Education Week published in
Washington sent me two recent issues because the second
contains the publication's first ever mention of HPB. It is in
a letter to the editor written in response to a glowing article
the previous week about a Waldorf School. The letter writer
Dan Dugan writes that his son was enrolled in a Waldorf
School in San Francisco and for 18 months all was well with
both child and parents happy with the school. But then he
noticed "pseudoscience in my son's lesson books and
investigated to discover whether it was a problem of poorly
trained teachers or part of the system. Unfortunately it was
the latter. My efforts to reform the science program along
with my objections to pre-Nazi racial theories in books sold at
the school resulted in my family's being expelled."

The letter continues:

Waldorf schools teach the worldview of Rudolf Steiner
an Austrian philosopher and artist who died in 1925. He was
head of the German section of Helena P. Blavatsky's
Theosophical Society until he split off to form his own group
"Anthroposophy." After his efforts to establish a political
movement called "the threefold social order" failed he
switched to education as a means for accomplishing his
objective of transforming society from modern materialism back
to medieval magical spirituality.
Mr. Steiner's doctrines which Waldorf schools teach as
science include: that "the four elements" are significant in
chemistry; that the human body is organized into the
"metabolic-muscular rhythmic and nerve-sense systems" that
the heart does not pump blood; that humans have 12 senses
corresponding to the signs of the zodiac; that the planets
influence the growth of plants; and that Newton was wrong
white light cannot be divided into colors.
Science isn't the only area shot through with bizarre
beliefs. History for example is taught on the framework of
the "seven root races" from Madame Blavatsky's theosophy.
I'm sad to see you repeating so many of the Waldorf
school publicity formulas. Articles like this are
unfortunately all too common. There is another quite
different side to this picture which has gone unreported so

In my analysis Waldorf schools should be regarded as
the principal missionary activity of a cult-like religious
sect. I say missionary because everything they do is
calculated to instill Steiner's worldview; a religious sect
because the teachers are trained almost exclusively in
Steiner's "spiritual" doctrines and must be committed to
anthroposophy in order to advance to full status; cult-like
because they cling to rejected knowledge and obscure their
intentions and the true contents of the curriculum.

The letter goes on a bit and is answered by the chairman of the
Association of Waldorf Schools. But besides being tired of
typing I don't see anything in the answer that is really
responsible to Dugan's points.


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