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August 29, 2005

Returning to Pt 1, "Lies on waldorf critics website"

Suffering the "Summer Lazies", I didn't get much further than Paragraph One in Dan Dugan's challenge to "expose any lies" on the PLANS website. I do still intend to return to it.

However, there is some unfinished business remaining on the analysis of the lies on Paragraph One. Dan has formed a response of sorts to the issues, and I would like to take this opportunity to explore that response. I'm happy to report he wasn't in wholesale disagreement with me on each of the issues I raised. He agreed with at least one of them, my assertion that the waldorf critics are but a "motley handful" of people. Well! That's a good start!

But we've still a long way to go. My original argument can be found here . Unfortunately, Dan's response won't be there. Dan's response was not written to me directly, but instead to a third individual who had read my remarks and commented upon them, adding to them some of his own thoughts as well.

The PLANS website claims itself to be a "worldwide network" of former Waldorf parents, teachers, administrators, etc.

In my piece, I pointed out that despite concerted efforts on my part, I couldn't find but a single individual who would admit to being a member of this "worldwide network" besides board members, and quipped that six of the seven board of directors live "close enough they could lunch together". Dan pointedly disagreed, and insisted but just five were living close by.

I hate being wrong. Am I? No, I don't think so. Count them again, Dan. Not too hard, since only ONE of the board of directors lives outside an only mildly extravagant "Let's Do Lunch" geographical perimeter. Though I didn't count them in my original tally, all from PLANS "Supporting Advisory" board could easily join them as well, all except one-"The Amazing Randi"-who calls Florida his home.

So Dan?!?! Come on...........! Ten of the twelve live within just hours of you. Why won't you concede my point on this?

Moving to the next contention. I claimed that PLANS has a lawyer who "has been funded by a religious organization which was deceived into believing that Waldorf schools engage in witchcraft". Dan takes issue, saying his lawyer "would be very pleased to be funded", and attempts to discredit my comment by suggesting that there were just "two small grants" from Pacific Justice Institute (which IS a religious organization btw).

Dan, since these "two small grants" represent the lion's share of the moneys paid thus far (as publicly disclosed, anyway), attempts to minimize it seem a little silly. In 1999, PLANS reports the first of the grants as an "earmarked" asset in their disclosure of financial resources to the IRS. The amount indicated in the first funding was $15000 (cost reimbursable grant), and a copy of the grant application was included. Media later reported that $18000 in grant money had been provided.

Dan also tries to downplay the role the witchcraft allegations played in this application, and once again offers his public the disingenuous denial, "I don't know where this impression came from". I say "disingenuous", because this isn't some new, outta the blue, issue. This is a very, very old story, reaching all the way back to PLANS very earliest days as leaflet passing, media-microphone blabbing, poster waving rabble-rousers, and he fully well knows the issue is still 'out there' because it continues to be raised in the media.

As evident in this initial grant application, PJI was explicitly told that the involved students were "required to fold their arms and chant, say a pledge to the sun flag, and other Wicca-based religious practices." PLANS had organized demonstrations at the Waldorf methods school in one of the districts being sued, and subsequent to these demonstrations, the media widely reported the witchcraft allegations. One local paper reported, "By 1997, administrators had to fend off claims that the school was teaching witchcraft. Dan Dugan, a Bay Area activist with a goal to rid public schools of all such Waldorf teachings, led the protest then and now."

Dan attempts to deflect from PLANS any measure of responsibility for the witchcraft allegations with a personal abstention: he didn't make the allegations, and he doesn't believe them himself. However, there is no question that in the grant application for the lawsuit, and in PR both then and ever since, Dan has benefitted PLANS by playing this both ways. He will assert PLANS represents those individuals who believed it, including those who made the allegations to TV and print reporters. This fact too was a representation made on behalf of PLANS in the grant application. Both he and others on the PLANS board stood right alongside those making the allegations, and in some measure, coordinated with them in the organized demonstrations. PLANS milked this nonsense charge for every drop it afforded, as the PLANS president, Debra Snell acknowledged at least once on the WC list. The "witchcraft" accusations brought PLANS much-sought media attention. They bought PLANS at least $15000 to apply toward legal expenses. And for the upcoming trial itself, PLANS added one of the most prominent individuals to have made the witchcraft allegations to their own WITNESS LIST!!

But gee, Dan.............."I don't know where this impression came from"??????????????? Cut it out, already, before your nose grows so long it attracts woodpeckers.

I haven't finished all the remaining 'unfinished business' from Paragraph One. The rest will have to wait. But before I sign off on this installment, I thought I'd comment that the WC list continues to roast an unidentified "Board Chair" of a private Waldorf school someplace for her failure to be currently and accurately informed on the status of the PLANS lawsuit. After all, list members argue, it's "her job" to be informed of issues which pertain to the Waldorf movement.

Ironically, it's clear PLANS founding board member Dan Dugan is demonstrating a few key knowledge "gaps" of his own regarding his own organization.

Posted by Linda at August 29, 2005 9:19 PM

Comments

I love it. The grant application is publicly available. It uses the word Wicca in connection with waldorf education. And Dan, who probably sweated to write that grant application, is pretending that this statement isn't there? This is the man who is so upset about "lies" from within the waldorf school movement. Wow!

Posted by: Deborah at August 30, 2005 7:28 AM

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