Dr Richard House has replied to my letter in Stroud Life last week and asked for compassion for those who support both the Green Party and Steiner education.
Green party policy to oppose free schools has provided them with a dilemma, because Steiner supporters are powerful within the local party.
In his letter he was very critical of mainstream education, (as Steiner proponents always are) labelling it damaging, child unfriendly, and toxic, and the children who attend these schools as “hapless”. He maintains that these criticisms are compelling and legitimate.
He does not mention his involvement with anthroposophy; his time as a Steiner class teacher, as a kindergarten teacher, and as the founder of an anthroposophical publishing company.
Dr House must know rather a lot about anthroposophy and the way it is used in Steiner schools, and yet all he mentions in his letter is that oft-repeated bit of spin about Steiner Education being “child-centred” – as if other schools are not.
He says there are complex ethical demands for people like him who support both Steiner schools and the Green party Policy on free schools which he says “place the individualistic self -interest of the few above the needs of the community as a whole”. Clearly he is in agreement with party policy.
He then makes the following rather surprising statement;
“…according to the logic of Helen’s position, one could equally come out and criticise the Greens for not coming out strongly in favour of the free school!”
Really? Does he think so many local Green party members are “within the Steiner position” as he puts it?
I have spoken personally to three party members who most certainly would not take kindly to that assumption, including the Mayor of Stroud. I have been told that support from the local Green party was not even luke-warm when the free school group approached, ditto the Town Council, and stone cold from Labour .
Instead of asking for compassion for those who “have to sacrifice their beliefs because of conflicting ethics”, Dr House, who describes himself as one of the “thoughtful people” should give some thought to making sure parents are fully informed about Steiner education before they sign up. Many of them have never even heard of anthroposophy, and yet sign up their children to the care of anthroposophists.
Dr House – tell them how Steiner’s clairvoyant visions are put into practice every day in Steiner schools. Tell them what Steiner teachers’ true intentions are – to lead children down a special path to spiritual awareness, and ultimately to clairvoyance.
The way Steiner beliefs and pseudoscience are woven into the curriculum and a critical attitude to science and technology is fed to the children is an important part of Steiner education. Dr House is well positioned to inform parents of this, and yet he chooses not to.
Green party members who oppose free schools now have another opportunity to fall into line with their party policy on free schools, if the Initiative group really are still planning to re-apply. We await their campaign in opposition with interest.