It is always interesting (and revealing) to hear from Steiner defenders, and I hope Jo Whittaker won’t mind me reproducing her comment on “Why” here, as I need to answer the points raised.
She accuses me of anger, fear and untruths.; there are no untruths here, and my only anger is against the dishonesty of the Steiner movement in its dealings with the public, not with any particular offenders. Fear? No. I am not afraid.
it sounds like you are very unhappy or have had a bad experience with someone to do with anthroposophy? My only worry is that your anger,fear and untruths will cause a huge divide in our wonderful community. As if we don’t have enough going on in our world with racism, anti semitism, homophoebia and now this. Too many generalisations are being made. Very few people whose children attend Steiner school know anything about anthroposohy. They go to receive an alternative education that steers clear of exams in ks3. My worry is for all of those children who are thriving and happy in their schools. Extremism breeds hate and all you are doing is encouraging people to hate something they know very little about. I am not an anthroposophist but as an observer, and as someone who has close connections with one of the businesses on your list, your untruths could effect their livelihood. One of these businesses on you list simply employ people who have been to a Steiner school in the past. Well if that’s the case then there are many more who should be on your oust such as moonflower, sunshine bakery, made in stroud , milks kitchen, wood ruffs. I could list more. So do you see, this oust us dangerous. Ignorance breeds fear, fear breeds hatred. If anthroposhy is a kind of religion then you are attacking people for Their beliefs. It’s wrong of you to lump everyone and anyone together who have had any experience or connection to Steiner in this argument you have. So many will be upset and hurt by it. While I understand your objections to a free school ( I wasn’t in favour either for different reasons) I feel that the word witch hunt could be used here. While any religion or indeed anthroposophy should never be a dogma, there are many good people out there who have Steiner connections. I fear everyone may look at them differently now. Also, why have you not given your second name. I get the feeling you would like all Steiner people, adults and children alike to leave or vanish. Well, that thought makes me uncomfortable. Our community is made up of all sorts. What with extremist views on Muslims, the threat of Isis, racism , BNP etc, what you are doing is no different you are generalising about a group of people in the community. Please let’s be peaceful. This is a democracy so your view needs to be heard but a blog that incites more ” agreement” could be a breeding ground for hate against anyone with any connection, however small to Steiner .
Regards Jo Whittaker
Firstly Jo, you seem to be suggesting it is wrong to criticise Steiner schools because parents are uninformed about anthroposophy; your remark “very few people whose children attend Steiner school know anything about anthroposophy” is true, a proportion, anyway, but that does not mean the two organisations are unrelated! And I do not hold the uninformed parents responsible – although they often blame themselves for not doing more research. Some parents of course are informed, and they are not telling – so much for equality.
Parents are told “We do not teach anthroposophy”; schools make out anthroposophy is somehow irrelevant, when in fact it is their raison d’etre. The teachers are trained in it (and in very little else). And yet parents remain uninformed. Do you consider that is an acceptable way to treat people? I do not.
If this new school was to be a Mormon school, I would not be happy, but I would not campaign against it because anyone signing up would know what they will get (and there wouldn’t be many takers). If Steiner schools called themselves anthroposophy schools there would be no need to blog about them, there would be nothing hidden.
What I have done on the “Why” page you commented on is to gather a list of the organisations in the Stroud area that are linked by anthroposophy. It is quite a list, isn’t it? And as you point out, it is not comprehensive if you include all the businesses run by people with Steiner connections, which I deliberately have not done – this was already pointed out in the comments.
The anthroposophical connection between all these (40) businesses is not at all obvious but is eye-opening and illustrates the covert way the creed operates.
Why don’t Stroud people know about anthroposophy and the extent of its influence? They should do, given its presence here. I think it is useful to raise awareness of anthroposophy in the area, and from the start I have asked people to do their own research. If people start to find out more about it and don’t like what they find, so be it.
I certainly do not want all the Steiner people to leave or vanish, but it is necessary to point out that there is already a considerable Steiner influence in the town, and that a new school teaching the Steiner “ethos, curriculum, and mission” as the free school team describe their intentions, will skew the balance even more, and limit choice for those who do not subscribe to the highly questionable tenets of anthroposophy or think it is an acceptable way to educate children.
“Encouraging people to hate something they know very little about” – a curious statement. I have had a lot of comments from Steiner defenders here recently who use the word “hate” to disparage this critical blog. There are aspects of anthroposophy I don’t like (probably you don’t like the Steiner idea of spiritual development through the races either?) but I do not “hate” people” for their beliefs.
Are you suggesting you know more about anthroposophy than critics here do? And that this means we should keep quiet?
What I have found out about anthroposophy over the past few years is very concerning, and it is clear that it should not be used in schools, especially not state-funded schools. I think anyone who understands anthroposophy (ie the spiritual hierarchy) and still promotes it, deserves to be questioned about it, especially if they advocate opening a new school where anthroposophy will be used.
You have also commented on a post I wrote about Bernard Jarman. He and Richard House have been writing to the local paper in support of the Steiner free school without admitting they are anthroposophists. That is not honest, and is very typical of the desire by Steiner followers to hide their association with this belief system.
You said in that comment “replace the word Steiner in your blog with ‘Africans’ ,or ‘homosexual’ and your preachings would be deemed racist and homophoebic. [sic]”. Oddly enough these are two groups Steiner followers have been accused of discriminating against themselves.
I hope you will begin reading a bit more criticism and realise that Steiner criticism is long established. there are critical websites all around the world, and discussions on forums like Mumsnet confirm the distressing experiences of parents lured to Steiner schools.
Criticism has only recently reached Stroud, and appears to be unsettling a lot of people.
“Let’s be peaceful” you say. Leave Steiner unchallenged, you mean. No that won’t happen.
BTW my full name has been on this blog since almost the beginning, for those who have been interested enough to read comments.