Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Pasadena Waldorf School Bullies Yuge Family


First some background from the article:

ALTADENA >> The June 1 deadline came and went Monday for the Yuge sisters, who are still working to pack up nearly a century’s worth of family history from a historic area home.
That home is the gardener’s cottage where the Yuge family has lived on the former Scripps estate in Altadena since the 1920s, when the late patriarch Takeo Yuge became a caretaker for the property.
The cottage, built by Takeo’s uncle Hanjiro, was intended for the family to stay in as long as they liked, but when the Pasadena Waldorf School purchased the Scripps estate in 1986, a new agreement was drafted: Approximately six months after the last parent dies, the property must be returned to the school.

So, in essence, Pasadena Waldorf School is choosing to foreclose on a family that has lived on the property all their lives... You might ask why?

Although an attorney sent a letter on behalf of Pasadena Waldorf stating that on June 1, officials could have all their belongings removed and placed in storage at the family’s expense, trustee William Birney said it was unlikely the school would take any “dramatic” action just yet.
“The fact that they haven’t moved by the time they said they were going to is potentially harming the school and its construction attempts,” said Birney, who is also chair of the PWS Board of Directors. “But, no trucks are going to be pulled up by Pasadena Waldorf forcing the clearing out of the property. Not at this point.” 

Ah... so there is a construction project that needs to get started right away.  Let's find out more, shall we?
Administrators said they needed access to the property beginning June 1 to start staging construction to rebuild two classrooms that burned down in an electrical fire in 2014. In an interview last week, Puls said the school had not yet finalized design plans or applied for a building permit from the county. 
OK... they need the property to rebuild two buildings that were burned down in an electrical fire... and apparently the two buildings cannot be rebuilt on that site.  No explanation as to why.  No permit has been applied for... that will take weeks... and the new buildings are still in the design stages.  So... what's the rush one might reasonably ask?
Although school officials are not sure what will be done with the 1-acre parcel containing the home and remnants of the nursery and gardens Takeo tended, a conceptual master site plan was presented to the Yuge sisters earlier this year, which included a parking lot and a long driveway. Officials have since said it was merely “conceptual” and was created without assessing the property.
So wait... do they need to kick these people out to replace classrooms or for a driveway?  Somebody is not being honest here...
The sisters had doubts when the school initially refused a request to nominate the 86-year-old Torrey pine for Altadena’s inaugural tree of the year contest but Waldorf administrator Douglas Garrett said they later agreed to nominate the tree, therefore making a public commitment to preserve it. Altadena Heritage presented the award to Waldorf officials Sunday at its annual Golden Poppy Awards.
So, after being criticized for not saving a historical tree (imagine how other Waldorf Schools would feel about getting that kind of reputation), they receive an award for being shamed into doing the right thing.
In a letter sent to the PWS community, Garret said “Our hope is that this award will help build a bridge with the Yuges that can calm the waters and allow for a smooth transition as they leave our campus.
What a guy!

But let's get back to whether the property is necessary for new classrooms - or are they planning a driveway that needs to run through this property immediately.  This is what the Yuge sisters saw at the master plan meeting.  This is a 30 YEAR MASTER PLAN by the way. 

It appears the 30 year master plan has a driveway running alongside the Yugo property.  I am told the classrooms that burned down are shown in their original locations on the master plan.  Did Pasadena Waldorf School representatives suddenly decide to move those two classrooms to the Yuge property and throw out the 30 year master plan?  Or did they misrepresent their intentions to the newspaper covering this story?  I see models in the picture above.  One doesn't spend that kind of money on a master plan and suddenly change it to relocate two classrooms. 

Let's have a look at the current school map from the parent handbook:

The Yuge home is at the bottom left of this map

The classrooms we are talking about are shown in black opposite the parking area - just as in the master plan.  It appears the school isn't being honest when it says it needs to relocate them to the Yuge property.  I invite comments from the school.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pasadena Waldorf School Recovery Group

I have removed the previous content of this page.  I'm not afraid of Pasadena Waldorf School and they can expect to get a LOT more scrutiny from me from now on.  I've got a few stories of my own to tell about that school and some of the people there.  Let those miscreants try to bully me... if they dare to. 

Meanwhile, as long as we have a spot here... let's see some recent reviews of Pasadena Waldorf School:

Posted May 07, 2015
- a parent

We feel robbed of time and money by Pasadena Waldorf School. The volunteer demands are punishing and they seem like a distraction. The request for money is constant yet their financial transparency is non-existent. The parents are treated with no respect. There is so much mind control, time control and manipulation used at that school. The most frightening thing of all is that PWS has NO WRITTEN POLICY ON BULLYING. Beware!

Posted April 23, 2015
- a parent

Here's what I wish I had known before I enrolled my children at PWS: as soon as you start feeling nervous or scared to speak out about a concern, as soon as a teacher starts to "wonder" about your child, as soon as you begin to feel slightly uncomfortable -- it's time to get out. It's hard to believe this is an actual school that purports to take care of children. It is an ideology taking care of itself. Be careful.

Posted April 02, 2014
- a parent
I was highly disappointed with this school. I was seduced by the beautiful grounds healthy vegan 
snacks and gorgeous gift shop. But beyond the exterior I experienced an extraordinary rigidity. My 
daughter was told not to do yoga (unhealthy - do Steiner exercises instead) not to do family bed 
(encourages too much dependence - she was a toddler ) and to play with silk scarves instead of 
write letters or read (frowned upon before the age of 7). I also felt the practice of having only one 
class teacher for all the grades was fundamentally limiting. Most importantly I felt our teacher didn't 
have the skills to cope with either conflict resolution or bullying (which happened). I ended up taking 
my daughter out of the school.

  • 14 friends
  • 28 reviews
Great morals you are showing your Altadena neighbors.  Breaking promises made by a founder of Altadena that allowed a Japanese family who we're put in camps to live there and now having them removed.


Way to go once respected neighborhood school.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Waldorf Schools and Bishop Nicholas

Waldorf classrooms have two very special visitors in December.  Bishop Nicholas and  his old pal, "Rupert" arrive to give out gifts and more.  Make no mistake, one is here to praise the "good" children while the other is here to embarrass the "bad" children.  First let's see who we are talking about when we say Bishop Nicholas and "Rupert".  Our good friends at Wikipedia have provided us with a list of many "companions" for Bishop/Saint Nicholas.


In Waldorf schools we have "Rupert" who, from my experience is a combination of elements from all of these.

Krampus"Krampus is a terrifying figure found in parts of Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia," "As a part of a tradition, when a child receives a gift from St. Nicolas he is given a golden branch to represent his good deeds throughout the year; however, if the child has misbehaved, Krampus will take the gifts for himself and leave only a silver branch to represent the child's bad acts."

"Belsnickel is a companion of Saint Nicholas in the Palatinate (Pfalz), Germany." "He is a rather scary creature who visits children at Christmas time and delivers socks or shoes full of candy, but if the children were not good, they will find coal and/or switches in their stockings instead."

Black Pete (Zwarte Piet)
"In Belgium and the Netherlands, children are told that Zwarte Piet leaves gifts in the children's shoes. Presents are said to be distributed by Saint Nicholas' aide Zwarte Piet; who enters the house through the chimney, which also explains his black face and hands, but not his colorful attire."

Knecht Ruprect
"Knecht Ruprecht sometimes carrying a long staff and a bag of ashes, and wore little bells on his clothes." "Ruprecht was a common name for the devil in Germany, and Grimm states that 'Robin fellow is the same home-sprite whom we in Germany call Knecht Ruprecht and exhibit to children at Christmas...'"  "Knecht Ruprecht first appears in written sources in the 17th century, as a figure in a Nuremberg Christmas procession." "According to some stories, Ruprecht began as a farmhand; in others, he is a wild foundling whom St. Nicholas raises from childhood.  Ruprecht sometimes walks with a limp, because of a childhood injury. Often, his black clothes and dirty face are attributed to the soot he collects as he goes down chimneys."

As it turns out, I have intimate experience with Bishop Nicholas and this Rupert character. 
Back in my Waldorf years, I was the Bishop Nicholas character for a neighboring Waldorf school (The City School in Los Angeles).  I saw first-hand how this tradition was carried out in a modern Waldorf school.  Rupert, or Black Peter is portrayed as a sub-human, black, devilish, wild, savage, unwashed and intended to frighten the children.  It has nothing to do with chimneys and neither does Bishop Nicholas in this tradition. He is typically dressed as a bishop, robes, religious garb, carrying a book with the children's names in it. If they have been good, they get a gold piece (foil wrapped candy or treat). If they have been bad, they may get a piece of coal.  

Bishop Nicholas is the all-knowing (knows when you've been bad or good) type of Saint Nick who carries a large book - a balance sheet of sorts - to express to each child that he is aware of their behavior throughout the year and that they need to continue being good or improve.

"Rupert" is intended to represent a sub-human and always depicted as dark skinned, disruptive and frightening.  His role is to annoy and frighten the children who Waldorf teachers have singled out for punishment.  He is always subservient to and held in control by Bishop Nicholas.  As Bishop Nicholas reads out each child's name, Rupert recommends a lump of coal for the child.  Bishop Nicholas wisely points out the good aspects of the child's character and rewards the child.

When I was Bishop Nicholas, I often provided my own gifts for each and every one of the children.  The Waldorf teachers at that school regularly singled out children who they expected me to embarrass by giving them a lump of coal instead of a golden walnut.  I regularly ignored their wishes. 

At the City School, one year, my regular Rupert couldn't make it so they enlisted the help of a parent.  The parent was dark skinned and the teachers there had no reservations about explaining that this was one reason why she was chosen.  That punctuated the inherent racism in what seemed like a slightly cruel but relatively harmless, albeit outdated Waldorf tradition.  Obviously, that was the last year I did this.

The juxtaposition of the pure Bishop Nicholas with the dirty Rupert is what Waldorf is trying to achieve here.  The Bishop is supposed to be gentle and quiet (like "good" students) - while Rupert is wild and rambunctious (like "bad" students).  It isn't Rupert's fault - he was raised in a barn after all... by the good Bishop who, with patience and gentle care, is guiding Rupert toward a better life... Not too much unlike how Waldorf teachers take in children who have been "raised in a barn" so to speak before their parents found Waldorf.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Karma and the Steiner Waldorf Teacher - Responses

Mark Hayes asked Jeremy Smith about the role of Karma in Waldorf.  

Mark responded to Jeremy here: Steiner's Mirror

To me, Jeremy's answer couldn't have been more clear if he spelled it out in Eurythmy movements.

"In all the teacher meetings I have attended over the years, I have never heard a teacher say anything that would seem to indicate that they know what a child’s past life had been or how its karma would unfold in the future. "

I guess he never read - "Faculty Meetings" - but wait... I think he realized what a goofy statement he made above.  He corrects himself by saying it was OK for Steiner to do this.

"Indeed, unless you are a great initiate or at least a clairvoyant of prodigious insight, how could anyone make such a statement without inviting derision? "

OK, so clairvoyants can do this without "inviting derision".

"If ever anything like this has happened in a Steiner school, then I condemn it as utterly inappropriate and wrong."

Funny - that completely agrees with the critics - except for the denial that it happens.

"What I have heard, on the other hand, is some really insightful discussion in child study sessions, in which teachers will focus on a particular child and share their particular experiences and observations made during lessons."

Of course.  I'll bet nobody lit a candle in the meeting you were in.

"Nor do I recognise the allegation that Steiner teachers ignore incidents of bullying because of some misplaced sense that, if a child is being bullied, it must be something to do with its karma."

Well, it only sounds "misplaced" when it isn't Steiner HIMSELF saying it.  Again, Faculty Meetings would be a good place to start learning about this.

"In the schools I know about, bullying is dealt with quickly and effectively and any incidents of bullying are notified to all the teachers so that they can keep an eye open in case of any further outbreaks."

Sigh.  I thought you said you read my blog Jeremy.  When I search "Bullying" I get 8 pages of parent complaints expressing exactly the opposite.  Who is going to put an end to this?  Certainly NOT the people who are in denial about its existence.  That would be YOU apparently.

"If there is a Steiner teacher anywhere in the world who believes that they should not intervene in cases of bullying, they are not only very wrong but also completely misunderstand the concept of karma. In my old school any such idiocy would have led straight to a disciplinary hearing for that teacher."

This sound, to critics, like a lot of lip-service.  Bullying is far too prevalent in Waldorf schools - and if it isn't teachers letting students "work it out" ("it" being their karma) then WHY is it prevalent in Waldorf?  The idea of a "disciplinary hearing" for a teacher who follows Steiner's instructions is comical.  I'll try to work that into my parody website.

"All of the above will seem like nonsense and delusion to some,"

Not just to critics, but to the parents of children (and the children themselves) who have been bullied for decades at the hands of Waldorf teachers.  As long as nobody is taking the complaints seriously, nobody is going to get an image of "warmth" when they hear the words "Waldorf classroom".

"In the UK at least, you have plenty of choice of schools and if the ideas outlined here don’t appeal to you, then please put your child in a different system."

Of course the ideas appeal to parents.  Whey you MAKE SHIT UP, it's easy to make it sound appealing.  If you were truthful about what Waldorf schools really do, parents would be climbing over themselves to put their child in a different system.  Why is "Waldorf" synonymous with "dishonesty"?  It isn't MY fault, Jeremy.

"Therefore, although I’m not clairvoyant, I can predict with complete confidence that Richard Dawkins’ next life will be as an Islamic fundamentalist; that Dan Dugan will be general secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America; and that Pete Karaiskos will come back as a kindly little old lady whose characteristic phrases will be: “If you can’t say something nice, then it’s better to say nothing at all” and “Oh well, mustn’t grumble.” "

It isn't that far from my current characteristic phrase, which is "If you can't say something TRUTHFUL, then it's better to say nothing at all".

It's kinda like "Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt".

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Open Letter to Waldorf Educators

We are Waldorf critics.  Wait, don't turn away.  Don't act like you don't know us.  We were YOU.  

We were parents, or students, or teachers in YOUR system.  Some of us have been all three.  Some of us are new at this, and some of us have been Waldorf critics for decades.  

We are each very different but we all have one thing in common - we or someone we love TRUSTED YOU once.  So, don't pretend you don't know us - you know us and you FAILED US!   Maybe you don't realize  the damage you do lasts a LIFETIME.  This is something you should hear - so you don't get  to turn a deaf ear now.  We are holding you accountable - Not just now - for a LIFETIME.  So you may as well stop pretending we don't exist - stop pretending criticism against you is unjust - and just listen up...

We are Waldorf critics.  Before we became Waldorf critics we stood for Waldorf with you - year after year.  We gave you all our free time - our money - we TRUSTED you with our children.  We changed our lifestyle to fit yours.  Sometimes it meant distancing ourselves from our friends, our own families - sure some of our kids didn't get to know their grandparents - but you convinced us they were a bad influence didn't you?  Sometimes, it wasn't as easy as cutting out a set of grandparents - sometimes one of the parents had to be taken out of the picture too.  Many of our spouses went along with this crazy idea.  The thought that we had entered into a cult started creeping into our heads.

When our children complained, you convinced us it was our children who were the problem.  You demanded that we trust YOU more than what our own children were telling us.  And you did this while you were LYING to us.

The more we noticed problems - the more we realized that if we spoke up, you would punish us - or worse yet - take it out on OUR CHILDREN!  Many of us felt trapped, helpless and smothered under your system.  Superficially, it seemed everyone around us was doing fine - but then we started asking questions.  That was the beginning of the end.  You weren't about to answer our questions honestly - in fact, you seemed insulted that we would even question what you were doing with OUR children.  When we eventually discovered what you were doing, and why - we begged you to stop.  YOU would have nothing of it.  Each of us and our children became your VICTIMS.  So now... 

We are Waldorf critics.  And WE are in the age of the internet.  Your first mistake was to try to use the internet to defame us.  Instead you ended up demonstrating to the world that even your highest-ranking members are LIARS and in fact can't be trusted around children. Your representatives are already requesting the "right to be forgotten" from Google in Europe.  

When one of your schools was recently forced to conduct an internal investigation, pedophiles and rapists and their accomplices came scampering out everywhere.  MORE WALDORF VICTIMS turned up... even famous ones.  Abuses and cover-ups went back decades.  Imagine what would happen if the other 1000 schools were investigated...  Many parents already do.

Now, your plan is that if you can ignore critics long enough, they might get tired of complaining and go away.  Here's the problem with that strategy.  The more you ignore the complaints, the MORE CRITICS you create.  There's no end to the stream of Waldorf critics now.  New critics are starting blogs every day.  And with the system you have in place - you can be sure EVERY DAY, parents right in YOUR SCHOOLS are ticking time-bombs waiting to become the next wave of Waldorf critics?  Why?  Because YOU don't listen to the Waldorf critics OR the complaints of parents in your schools.  When children are harmed YOU don't hold yourselves accountable!  You leave it up to the Waldorf critics to do that for you.  

The way Anthroposophists blatantly lie about Anthroposophy and racism in Waldorf, not to mention the nonsense you claim is good for children, is so absurd people are literally laughing at you - not over your beliefs as much as your ridiculous attempts to keep them secret from the public.  

We are Waldorf critics.  We thought we were like you - but we realize now - you have been LYING to us all along - YOU are NOTHING like us! 

We are Waldorf critics.  We won't sit by and listen while you lie to fresh parents every day.  Every day, we make the time and find the strength and courage and resilience to speak our outrage at YOU.  Where do you think that determination comes from?  We still feel the damage YOU did to us... and we are determined you won't do that to others.  Since you won't change - you have to be EXPOSED!

We know that what distinguishes us from you is that when WE see  teachers doing something wrong WE SPEAK UP.  When WE see a child being harmed, we don't make excuses, WE STEP IN.  When WE see Waldorf representatives lying on blogs and in articles, WE SHOW THEY ARE LYING and why.  When we see Waldorf school after Waldorf school ignoring science to the point where they put not just their own children, but the public at risk, WE MAKE THEM FAMOUS for the harm they do. 

WE are Waldorf critics - WE help hundreds of parents avoid Waldorf every day - and WE know that's something WE can be proud of.  

See also: http://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/waldorf-critics-and-waldorf-proponents-on-daisys-dissertation/

Friday, September 12, 2014

Anthropoppers, Critics and Waldorf Schools, Oh my!


Jeremy Smith writes: 

I used to work for a Steiner school and my younger self tended to get quite upset by the sheer malice and ill will that the online critics manifested towards the education. I would dearly love to offer these critics and their readers a more balanced view, one which is based on my own, mainly positive, experience of Steiner schools. However, despite my wish for interaction and dialogue, I’ve reluctantly concluded that there is little to be gained by joining discussion with the critics. After several bruising online encounters, it became clear that many of them are really not interested in reasoned discussion. No, what they want is to destroy Steiner Waldorf education. I wish I had read the following advice from Steiner before getting involved:
“Observe the opponents, indeed in our anthroposophical circles it would be most advisable to study our opponents carefully. They renounce attacking the truths, and lay chief stress on personal attacks, personal insinuations, personal insults, personal calumnies. They think that truth cannot be touched, yet it is to be driven out of the world, and they believe that this can be done by personal defamation. The nature of such an opposition shows how well the leading opponents know how to proceed in order to gain the victory, at least for the time being.
But this is something which anthroposophists above all should know; for there are still many anthroposophists who think that something may be reached by direct discussion with the opponent…people do not hate us because we say something that is not true, but because we say the truth. And the more we succeed in proving that we say the truth, the more they will hate us.
Of course this cannot prevent us from stating the truth. But it can prevent us from being so naïve as to think that it is possible to progress by discussion.” 
Smith continues:
Steiner here was clearly referring to opponents who went about their business by way of ad hominem attacks, distortions and lies – the kind of behaviour, in fact, which the internet with its anonymity and distancing effect seems to encourage. Taking his advice, I won’t be getting into any more online exchanges with critics who behave in the ways he described. I might, however, respond to what seem to be genuine questions or genuine concerns, because I am interested in real discussion and dialogue – and also because I think that in the long run the critics are doing Steiner schools a favour by shining their critical spotlight on the education.

The problem that I see with all this is that Mr. Smith has it exactly backwards.  It is Anthroposophists who have sought to personalize critical discussions about Waldorf - not the other way around.  Critics don't want to make it about individuals - they have no incentive to suggest an individual is responsible for the failures of Waldorf.  Critics have gone out of their way to insist this ISN'T about individuals, but rather a systemic problem.  Occasionally, individuals are identified, of course, when they are pedophiles or otherwise harmful to children.  But even when critics identify an individual pedophile, or racist, they are far more concerned about the Waldorf system that permits these individuals to roam and lecture freely.

Indeed, it has been the Anthroposophists who "lay chief stress on personal attacks, personal insinuations, personal insults, personal calumnies" upon critics.  I've been called a "psychopath" among other things.  Other critics have been compared to Nazis, called mentally unstable, accused of forgery and on and on.  NONE of the criticisms of Steiner are ever addressed adequately for the public, let alone the critics.

Smith claims Waldorf should embrace the critical spotlight.  If so, Waldorf critics could easily embrace Steiner's words for themselves.

“Observe the opponents, indeed in our critical circles it would be most advisable to study our opponents carefully. They renounce attacking the truths, and lay chief stress on personal attacks, personal insinuations, personal insults, personal calumnies. They think that truth cannot be touched, yet it is to be driven out of the world, and they believe that this can be done by personal defamation. The nature of such an opposition shows how well the leading opponents know how to proceed in order to gain the victory, at least for the time being.
Anthroposophists do not hate us because we say something that is not true, but because we say the truth. And the more we succeed in proving that we say the truth, the more they will hate us.
Of course this cannot prevent us from stating the truth. But it can prevent us from being so naïve as to think that it is possible to progress by discussion.” 
What could be more true for critics? 

Smith concludes: 

I will simply observe that, to the extent we are able to rise successfully to this challenge, the critics will have helped Steiner schools into becoming an accepted and valued part of the educational culture of this country – and this might even come to be reflected in what is said about us on the internet.
Yeah, how's that working out for you so far?