I wish I were being hyperbolic in my title but, unfortunately, it is entirely accurate. Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, issued a press release announcing new multi-denominational schools, one of which is in Knocknacarra, Galway. The patronage for this primary school was awarded to Lifeways Ireland whose pedagogy is based on the Steiner model.
The Steiner model of education is a more holistic approach to education. During the early stage there is a focus on play, hands on activities, arts and crafts etc. Students don’t start reading and writing until around 7. This method of teaching is based on the philosophy of Anthroposophy. Anthroposophy states that there is a spiritual world, and it is possible to objectively comprehend this world by cultivating a form of clairvoyance.”
“Anthroposophy forms the educational pedagogy that underpins Steiner schools, and anthroposophy traditionally holds that the point of Steiner education is to improve children’s karma by nurturing their connection to the spirit world.”
Anthroposophy and the Steiner model of education were founded by Rudolf Steiner. Obviously there is a lot more to it than what it is stated above, none of which is more worrying or more fantastical than other schools based on religion. However Steiner was a rampant racist and his racist views are incorporated into Anthroposophy.
Anthroposophy states that different races exist along different levels of a spiritual hierarchy, with Aryans at the top. He believed good souls would be reincarnated into Aryans and bad, evil souls will be reincarnated into lower races. “The remaining human bodies belonged to the races that had become decadent and were falling into decline. The [good] souls left the bodies of [these] races and rose up to higher races.”
Some might argue that Steiner was a product of his time and the fact he was a racist does not mean we shouldn’t use his pedagogical model if it is effective. For example, we still drive Ford cars and watch Disney movies despite the fact their founders were antisemitic. However, the Steiner model of education is intertwined with its racist doctrine. The objective of Steiner education is to train and discipline students so they can experience the spiritual world and increase their chances of reincarnating in a better race. It is why they don’t teach children how to read or write until the age of 7. Steiner believed that learning how to read and write before 7 would hurt their spiritual development and their karma, thus impact their chances of reincarnating into a better race.
All teachers in Steiner schools have to undergo two years of training, one year of which is to study Anthroposophy which includes the racist doctrines. This has led to an apathetic attitude to racism in schools as the British Humanist Association reports:
Two parents who contacted us sent their mixed-race daughter to the Kings Langley Steiner School. In one lesson her German teacher read out a poem from a book which she translated as ‘the boy got so much chocolate on his face he looked like a nigger’. The daughter complained that the word is racist, but was told that ‘nigger’ is not a racist word and was moved to the corner of the room for complaining. Meanwhile, another student who told the daughter that ‘all black people are niggers’ was not punished at all. ‘The teacher was not disciplined, but the Education Co-ordinator point blank refused to answer us when we asked him if he believed in Steiner’s theory that people reincarnate through the races starting with black and progressing upwards to white, with blond blue eyed people at the top.’ Subsequently to this, the parents persuaded the teachers to have a racism awareness day, but at that, ‘a few teachers filled in every ethnicity on the form as they said they had been through all races: the teachers were white so obviously saw themselves as being at the pinnacle.’
Trevor Mepham, the head of the Frome Academy and former head of the Hereford Academy, told the BBC that ‘I do acknowledge that some of the things that were said in the 1920s do not sound quite right today in the 21st century. What I’m saying is that fundamentally, Rudolf Steiner is not a racist and these schools do not promote anything like that.’
You will be hard pressed to find an advocate for the Steiner model and Anthroposophy who will admit Steiner was a racist despite the fact he clearly was.
“The French are committing the terrible brutality of moving black people to Europe, but it works, in an even worse way, back on France. It has an enormous effect on the blood and the race and contributes considerably toward French decadence. The French as a race are reverting.”
“Negroes” are “decadent” and “completely cut themselves off from the spiritual world.”
Other than the racism, Stiener schools endorse books which are notably anti-science:
- They have Anthroposophy Doctors who visit the school and homeopathy is advocated.
- Evolution is questioned and described as “rooted in reductionist thinking and Victorian ethics and young people need to emerge from school with a clear sense of its limits”
- The heart is said not to be a pump but a sense organ. ‘The circulation of blood is not a closed system and the pump model is not sufficient to understand the circulation of the blood and the sensitivity of the heart to the emotions’
Steiner schools often opt out of vaccinations and Stiener himself opposed them as he believed they damaged karma. A report by the UK government described Steiner schools to consist of “high risk populations” and “unvaccinated communities” which are a danger to children’s health with an increased risk of contracting and spreading diseases.
This, this is who our government is giving a school to. Racist, anti-science, child endangering occultists. As a Galwegian I certainly don’t want this school in my city and I fear there simply isn’t enough information out there for parents to be fully informed. I ask anyone who reads this to contact Jan O’Sullivan and ask her to revoke the patronage. Also make as much noise as you can about it via social media. We simply cannot allow for such a school to exist, especially government funded.
For a more detailed read on Steiner schools please read this by the British Humanist Association.