Don't forget to visit The Waldorf Review for more up-to-date school reviews and news stories.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

HH Board President disguises Racism at Highland Hall

 After a meeting with Hasib Saliefendic and Andrew Sapin, regarding racism at Highland Hall, my friend Emmy Sundeen was asked by Saliefendic and Sapin to do some independent research on Waldorf.  I was careful to allow Emmy to do her own research - not pointing her to any particular website.  She knew nothing about Waldorf education - only that I was critical of it.  Emmy has a lot of experience with independent private schools and her mother and both sisters are educators in Southern California.


Here's my reply to you:

--- On Thu, 9/3/09, Hasib Saliefendic <> wrote:


    I would not bother with this if it came from Pete, but it's you and I think it capsulizes the situation very well, so I'll take the time.

    After briefly reviewing your "research" it is unequivocally clear that the attacks on Waldorf education are ridiculous and self-serving. This is typical of detractors such as Pete, and now you: you don't know what you are talking about, but that doesn't matter because you have your own agenda, and will only use what supports that agenda.

HASIB, do you understand that this is the NORMAL way someone who had discovered a problem in Waldorf would search?  Indeed, when I started having problems with Highland Hall back in 2000, the first thing I did was look for sites that are critical of Waldorf - to see what the other side had to say.  I immediately found PLANS.

    Frankly, I'm surprised at how effectively you have discredited Pete's , and your own, supposed assertions about Waldorf education and Steiner, and I'm also shocked that you really don't appear to have any clue about the actual meaning of the words contained in your example, and you don't seem to think it necessary.

    I'll break it down for you, just using your Wikipedia reference:

    1. Self-Serving - You conveniently omit any reference that might be positive. On the same page are found supporters. Clearly indicated that they are not anthroposophists. They are smart people and obviously many Jews. But nevermind--that would not support your false thinking about anthroposophy so better to leave it out and ignore it.

Look what happens when I start putting "Anthroposophy" after each of their names Hasib.  They're ANTHROPOSOPHISTS.

    Anthroposophy has had many prominent supporters outside of the movement. Among these have been many writers, artists and musicians; these include Pulitzer Prize-winning and Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow,[59] Andrej Belyj,+his+Life+and+Works, [60][61] Josef Beuys,[62] Owen Barfield, Wassily Kandinsky,[63][64] Nobel Laureates Selma Lagerlöf[65] and Albert Schweitzer, Andrei Tarkovsky[66] Bruno Walter,[67] and Alternative Nobel Prize winner Ibrahim Abouleish.[68]

I wonder if Emmy will think to do this... It sure makes your argument look stupid doesn't it?

    Furthermore, included in the Statements on race which you quote, but deliberately ignore is a paragraph from the Anthroposophical Society in America. Better ignore that too.

    To clarify its stance, the Anthroposophical Society in America has stated:

        We explicitly reject any racial theory that may be construed to be part of Rudolf Steiner's writings. The Anthroposophical Society in America is an open, public society and it rejects any purported spiritual or scientific theory on the basis of which the alleged superiority of one race is justified at the expense of another race

HELLO... 1) The Anthroposophical Society doesn't run Waldorf schools.  2) Here's what AWSNA says: “Waldorf schools are non-sectarian [sic] and non-denominational [sic]. They educate all children, regardless of their cultural or religious backgrounds. The pedagogical method is comprehensive, and, as part of its task, seeks to bring about recognition and understanding of all the world cultures and religions. Waldorf schools are not part of any church. They espouse no particular religious doctrine but are based on a belief that there is a spiritual dimension to the human being and to all of life. Waldorf families come from a broad spectrum of religious traditions and interest.”

Not exactly the same thing is it?  Do you know the difference between the Anthroposophical Society and AWSNA, Hasib?

    2. Ridiculous.  This is one of the problems with things being taken out of context, and a pitfall of not doing your own thinking--you think it's not necessary. I'll break down what you quote on race:

    Anthroposophical ideas have been criticized from both sides in the race debate; for their strongly anti-racist stance:

    What this statement is saying is that anthroposophical ideas have been criticized for being anti-racist:  anthroposophical ideas = anti-racist
    Are you saying that being anti-racist is bad?

It's bad if you think you are anti-racists while holding racist ideals... hence the debate.

But beyond this, it's WIKIPEDIA.  I sure hope Emmy has a look at who controls the edits on the Waldorf page... like a policeman - Oh, my goodness, it's Harlan Gilbert, a Waldorf teacher.  Who else... The Bee - Sune Nordwall... Former Waldorf teacher and now Waldorf fanatic.  Who else?  Linda Clemens is assigned to guard the PLANS page as ProffessorMarginala... we also have Deborah Kahn... all Waldorf people I can identify guarding every Steiner/Anthroposophy/Waldorf page there.  Do you really think Wikipedia is unbiased?  I can make a very good case that it isn't. 


        * From the mid-1930s on, National Socialist ideologues attacked the anthroposophical world-view as being opposed to Nazi racism and nationalistic principles; anthroposophy considered "Blood, Race and Folk" as primitive instincts which needed to be overcome.[76][77]

    1. National Socialists were the Nazis. You could have clicked on the link and found that out, but why bother.

You could also have also researched that Anthroposophists and Waldorf schools were kept OPEN by the Nazis for the longest period of time of any non-state schools.  Furthermore, that your claim above is mostly a lie.

    2. So, the Nazis attacked anthroposophical world-view for being opposed to the racism and nationalism being pushed by the Nazis. Anthroposophical views opposed the Nazis, which is why the Nazis ultimately shut down the Waldorf schools.
    3."Blood, Race and Folk" was essentially the driving principles of the National Socialism/Nazi movement that killed millions of people. Anthroposophy opposed that and still opposes that type of thinking.

    So, I'm not sure what point you think you are making, but you are certainly making all of my points for me, without even reference to reliable information on anthroposophy, Steiner's views, or Waldorf education.

The point is easy to see.  You, Anthroposophists, have been spinning history.  And to do this, it requires overtaking Wikipedia and continually publishing half-truths even after they have been proven to be false.

    If you are sincerely interested in accurate, credible information, take a look at the information at these websites:

Why, in you wildest dreams, would you believe accurate, credible information could be found on these sites?  If you wanted to find out anything critical about... say... DOW chemical, would you check their website?  Or would you look for independent sites?

Trust me, Hasib - Emmy is NOT stupid.

    Best of luck to you.


Yeah, you too Hasib.  I hope Emmy doesn't find any of this.  You look VERY bad here.


    Simivalleyca Super Suppers wrote:
>     Pete & Hasib,
>     OOOPS, I only sent it to Pete.
>     So here you go Hasib, please see the above email from me
>     Kindest regards,
>     Emmy
>     On Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 6:13 PM, Pete Karaiskos <> wrote:
>         Hi Emmy,
>         Wow.  He'll never believe I didn't lead you to this stuff.  The only thing I noticed - not changing any content of course, is the site that you "Waldorf Open" is called Open Waldorf.
>         Again... Wow!
>         I'll call you.
>         --- On Wed, 9/2/09, Simivalleyca Super Suppers <> wrote:
>             From: Simivalleyca Super Suppers <>
>             Subject: Re: Today's Meeting
>             To: "Pete Karaiskos" <>
>             Date: Wednesday, September 2, 2009, 5:56 PM
>             Pete & Hasib,
>             I appreciate you both thinking of me as level-headed.  I would like you both to see what I was able to find with 5 mins on the Internet.
>             I goggled Waldorf School Curriculum.  Reviewing the first site I found Waldorf Open which says that the school is founded on the writings and teachings of Steiner. Please review the items in large, bold & underlined print.  Hasib it does state in several articles that the board if mainly made up of parents whom make most of the decisions.  I'm concerned as to why you being on the board are not aware of the school's practices , teaching & curriculum.  After your review I'm sure you will understand my point.
>             Waldorf Open
>             Waldorf Education holds a unique theory of "child development." Waldorf's theory of child development is seen through the lens of anthroposophy, and it forms the educational basis for Waldorf curriculum. You can't begin to understand Waldorf Education until you understand Waldorf's underlying theory of child development.
>             Waldorf's theory of child development is based on Anthroposophy's view of the spiritual development of the whole human being, as it travels through the journey of reincarnation.
>             Steiner Says...
>             Since everything in Waldorf education is based on the Work of Rudolf Steiner , it's very important to know what Steiner says. In fact, you may hear the faculty and parents at your Waldorf school frequently use the phrase "Steiner Says" to illuminate key points about Waldorf education
>             The next site that comes up is Wikipedia, here are a few things that caught my attention;
>             Wikipedia . . .
>             Both historically and philosophically, Waldorf education grows out of anthroposophy's view of child development, which stands as the basis for the educational theory, methodology of teaching and curriculum. This includes the belief that humans possess an innate spirit that, having passed through previous lives, will in this life develop in its karmically appropriate environment, before returning to the spirit world and later reincarnate in another body.[63] Waldorf pedagogics see the teacher as having "a sacred task in helping each child's soul and spirit grow".[64] Steiner's "extra-sensory anthropology" has been the source of criticisms of Waldorf education: Ullrich questions: "Can any solution be found to this fundamental paradox of Steiner’s pedagogics—the creation of a beneficial practice on the foundation of a dubious theory?" His answer is to draw a distinction between Steiner's disputed "living logic of images... an attempt to rehabilitate mythical thinking and ritual life in a civilization ruled by science" and the "versatility of the related educational views, metaphors and maxims" which have a firm basis in "modern common sense educational theory."[24]
>             While anthroposophy is not generally taught as a subject, the degree to which anthroposophy is described by the schools as the philosophical underpinning of Waldorf education typically varies from school to school. At times this has led to parents objecting that the role of anthroposophy in the educational method had not been disclosed to them, prior to enrollment.[21] In addition, the pedagogy's reliance on a single theory of child development has been questioned and some Waldorf teachers' uncritical attitude toward anthroposophy criticized.[13]
>               Statements on race
>             Anthroposophical ideas have been criticized from both sides in the race debate; for their strongly anti-racist stance:
>                 * From the mid-1930s on, National Socialist ideologues attacked the anthroposophical world-view as being opposed to Nazi racism and nationalistic principles; anthroposophy considered "Blood, Race and Folk" as primitive instincts which needed to be overcome.[76][77]
>             as well as for "rankings" of races which occur in Steiner's philosophy:
>                *