Another non-PLANS member

“Pete is a fervent representative of the PLANS group.”
This, of course, is an outright LIE. Said by Pete on the

Comments on “Deny, Deny, Deny”
Back in August 2005, Linda wrote two blogs about the odd discrepancy between the description on the PLANS web-site and the actual membership of PLANS.
Lies on the PLANS Web-site and Recap on PLANS membership
Linda wrote:

“People for Legal and Non-Sectarian Schools (PLANS) is a world-wide network of former Waldorf parents, teachers, students, administrators and trustees who come from a variety of backgrounds.” Really? Who are they? Where are they? Very few I met there over the years would admit to being part of PLANS. In fact, I was scolded and lectured on several occasions for presuming anyone to be so. Besides those individuals (seven) who are identified as members of the board of directors of PLANS, I found just *one* other person willing to admit to actually being a member of this supposed “worldwide network”.

So, now we have it on record. Pete is another person who is absolutely not to be considered as a member of PLANS, much less any sort of representative thereof.
Which leaves me wondering. Why are these folks so vehemently opposed to being publicly connected with this organization?

Deny, deny, deny

Diana Winter posted on AT on May 7, 2006

Did PLANS tell lies to obtain a grant? Is there some reason you might think this? What kind of lie? To who, about what? Is there some evidence for this, or any reason you can think of PLANS would lie to obtain a grant? I can certainly agree that telling a lie is usually unethical, but until you bring this into the realm of something that actually might have happened, and explain why you think so, it is your own behavior that is unethical.

Diana Winter posted on AT on May 8, 2006

Christian fundamentalists are also entitled to religious freedom, which is the basis of the lawsuit. You or I don’t have to like their religion, I don’t like it any more than they like anthroposophy, but they have a right to support, via grant giving, a lawsuit that protects their rights. It was a *good* thing to do – it was not ethically “murky.” Nor did PLANS, in accepting it, do anything ethically “murky.” (It’s a PR disaster, I agree; but not ethically wrong.)

Well, the telling lies in the grant applications turned out to be pretty bad for the fundamentalists, in this particular case, although I think they got what they deserved. No, not for being fundamentalists, nor for funding a case against waldorf in public education. They got what they deserved for skipping out on their responsibilities as grantors and not bothering to do a smidgen of research and some critical reading. Where did these folks get the money to make grants? Obviously, from donors. Donors to a cause deserve fiscally responsible behavior from the people they give their money to. PLANS and their lawyers were a bad investment and this should have been obvious within a couple of days of the receipt of the grant application. Would you give money to a group to pursue a lawsuit if they can’t get their facts straight? If they call something Wicca when it is something else entirely? PLANS and their lawyer have done a pathetic job on this lawsuit (see PLANS Loses Waldorf Court Case, Lies About it in Press Release ) and the clues were there to begin with. It is too bad someone wasn’t paying attention.
Diana Winter posted on May 9, 2006

When confronted, deny, deny, deny

Later that same day I put up a couple of quotes from the grant application.
We didn’t hear from Diana again until May 13. I’ve already quoted her initial (feeble) response on this blog Responses to: A Peculiar Grant Application–Part I

Here, at 9:08 a.m. on May 13 is Diana Winter’s final response (at least on AT).

No, Deborah. This game is finished. You simply make yourself appear desperate when you immediately abandon one accusation the moment it is challenged, and start a new one. The whole question of who accused who of Wicca is not going to be revived here now, at least not with my participation. I’ve gone on record about it several times. Nice try changing the subject though!

The quotes I posted included the Wicca bit, so in what way was I changing the subject? Obviously, by raising a topic Diana wanted to ignore. I presented a package deal, not of accusations, but of direct quotes from an actual PLANS grant application. The question I asked was if these quotes were lies. Diana decided that one item could have been a mistake, rather than a lie. So, until I concede that it could, indeed, have been a mistake, rather than a lie, I’m not allowed to discuss anything else? Odd concept of the rules of online discussion.
So who is desperate? Who ran away to hide back in the cozy WC where it is possible to pretend that everything is okay?

Warm thanks to Diana W!

Why did Dan Dugan have to write the following explanation for the, um, mistatements in the grant application?
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/anthroposophy_tomorrow/message/26186
Because of Diana W., of course. Her over-the-top, totally ridiculous response to my mild, light-hearted hint that PLANS just might have lied in a grant application, forced me to actually publish quotes from that grant application. I wouldn’t have cared if she had ignored my remark. Nobody else would have noticed if she had ignored my remark. Within days, everyone would have forgotten that anyone had said anything at all about PLANS lying on a grant application. But Diana, in her attempt to defend PLANS from attack, opened them up to public humiliation and made it necessary for Dan to go out and try to explain the unexplainable and justify the unjustifiable. I just hope Dan appreciates her efforts to protect him.
While I’m at it, I’d like to acknowledge a couple of other achievements from Diana.
One of my favorites is her role in getting Pete kicked off of Mothering. I won’t go into details, but she probably knows what I’m talking about and I’m sure that Pete has figured it out.
Her outstanding ability to present the Waldorf Critics as nutcases and fruits has been very useful over the years and is highly valued by everyone who tries to protect Waldorf education from defamation.
So, I just wanted to take this opportunity to express my warm appreciation of Diana. My favorite Critic and a truly thoughtful and courteous human being. One who can be depended upon to open her mouth and insert not only her foot, but her leg, and beyond.

I dunno…I dunno…I dunno

PLANS is supposed to be made up of people who have developed expert knowledge about waldorf schools and waldorf education. However, whenever anyone asks them an awkward question, they suddenly either disappear or become exceedingly ignorant. Consider, for example, the snippet below, taken off of the the Waldorf Critics discussion list.

The children were also required to say a pledge to the sun
flag, and other Wicca based religious practices.
I don’t know what he was talking about there.
-Dan Dugan

Dan was quoting from the grant application, submitted by PLANS, with the name of PLANS lawyer as author and the name of PLANS president, Deborah Snell listed as responsible person. But Mr. Dan Dugan has no idea what his lawyer could be talking about. No idea where he could have gotten the idea that Waldorf Education and Waldorf Schools could be related to Wicca. Just no idea at all.
However, consider this snippet:

On May 26, 1997, PLANS president Debra Snell responded that while allegations of witchcraft were not part of PLANS’ agenda, she had done nothing to correct them, and she was “happy” that they were made in the media.
Debra Snell: We did not phone the Sacramento Bee to dispute Sac. City Unified School Officials statement that PLANS claims is based on rumor either…
Anyone who knows PLANS’ claims, knows that witchcraft has not been our handle.
[But] We’re frankly happy to see the issue in the news, and it has certainly been there lately.

So PLANS was happy to have false claims of witchcraft associated with waldorf schools and waldorf education, but Dan has no idea, no idea at all, where his lawyer got the idea, just not the slightest bit of comprehension as to why this blatant falsehood turned up in the grant application.
And yes, the lawyer did it.
Now, where have I heard that excuse before?

Responses to: A Peculiar Grant Application

The response has been dismayingly feeble. So, I think I’ll start with some quotes from Diana Winter, berating me in her inimitable manner for implying that PLANS might have lied on their grant application.

You made innuendos that you are refusing to explain. You should explain them, or your own tactics are sleazy, while you wax eloquent that other people are doing things that are supposedly “murky.” You retract the word with your exaggerated politeness, but offer no explanation. Have you no shame? Perceive no irony? Other people are up to dirty tricks, but these tactics you are using, these are honorable? You planted the suggestion here that PLANS lied in a grant application. This is really not costing you a little sleep?

So, I explained, I substantiated, I quoted directly from the PLANS grant application. I’m sure that no one acquainted with Diana Winter will be surprised that she failed to apologize for her abusive remarks. In fact, her behavior was quite murky. First she disappeared from the AT for a few days. Complete and total silence, after she insisted that I had to substantiate my claim, or commit hari-kiri or the online equivalent. Then she returned, offered the feeble explanation that:

The name of the school is wrong on the grant application? I have no idea the meaning of this, but it looks like an error to me. So conspiracy hounds, if they’d written “Yuba River Charter School” on that form instead of “Yuba City,” PJI would have said; “There is no school by that name. The correct name is blah-blah. Funding denied.” LOL.

Just in case somebody is having trouble following this somewhat murky discussion, Diana chose the most extremely minor point in the quote from the grant application, that one of the school names is incorrect. The far less minor point is the claim that the school, still unnamed, was compulsory. There is NO compulsory elementary school and there WAS NEVER a compulsory elementary school. But Diana doesn’t touch on the real point, just says, “Gosh, a boo-boo, but it isn’t important.”
I review grant applications for a foundation. I’ve been reviewing grant applications for over ten years now. If I received a grant application with an obvious error, or with questionable claims, I would call up the grantee and ask some pointed questions about the content of the grant application. I would be irresponsible if I recommended a grant to somebody who was spouting inaccuracies, and way beyond irresponsible if I recommended a grant to someone who included obvious falsehoods in their grant application.
It isn’t okay to lie in a grant application. A grant application is a request for money for a particular purpose. Requesting money using false information is fraud. Certainly, it is possible to make a mistake on a grant application. An HONEST applicant who discovers they have made a mistake, contacts the grantor and submits a correction.
So, even if the lawyer did the whole thing all by himself, as Dan Dugan claims (a most unlikely story), at some point Dan received a copy of the grant materials. At that point he could have corrected the various errors. Ms. Snell, whose name is on the grant application could have corrected the various errors. Neither of them bothered.
I don’t think, at this point, that holding them responsible for the statements that appear on this grant application is particularly harsh.
The folks they submitted the application to? Either incompetent, stupid, or longing to be suckered. They obviously didn’t make the slightest attempt to verify ANY of the information submitted.

And there it sits-

My previous blog on the “Big Lie” [http://www.defendingsteiner.com/wc/archives/2005/08/the_big_lie_fro.html#comments] hasn’t brought forward any attempts to verify the quote from Peter Staudenmaier.
I do believe that I could offer the Waldorf Critics and PLANS a thousand dollars, ten thousand dollars or even a million dollars and the quote would remain – unverified.
“Please point out any falsehoods you find on the PLANS site, so they might be corrected.” Posted by Dan Dugan on Waldorf Critics a month ago. I guess “might” is the operative word.
Did Steiner say it? Put up the quote or remove the article!

The Big Lie from PLANS

Yes, the web-site of PLANS includes a lot of lies. This quote is a particularly glaring example. The untruth of this particular example has been pointed out over and over and over again. It has been pointed out on the Waldorf Critics discussion list. It has been pointed out on Anthroposophy Tomorrow. Daniel Hindes provided a detailed analysis of the first half of this article, coming up with 66 pages worth of paragraph by paragraph analysis of the problems with the article. But the article is still up on PLANS site. [Link to Daniel’s article can be found starting from his page of Refutations: http://www.defendingsteiner.com/refutations/index.php
This example of something that Steiner supposedly “said” has been up on the PLANS web-site for years. It is the first paragraph of an article by Peter Staudenmaier entitled: Anthroposophy and Ecofascism.

In June, 1910, Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy, began a speaking tour of Norway with a lecture to a large and attentive audience in Oslo. The lecture series was titled “The Mission of National Souls in Relation to Nordic-Germanic Mythology.” In the Oslo lectures Steiner presented his theory of “national souls” (Volksseelen in German, Steiner’s native tongue) and paid particular attention to the mysterious wonders of the “Nordic spirit.” The “national souls” of Northern and Central Europe belonged, Steiner explained, to the “germanic-nordic” peoples, the world’s most spiritually advanced ethnic group, which was in turn the vanguard of the highest of five historical “root races.” This superior fifth root race, Steiner told his Oslo audience, was naturally the “Aryan” race. [1]

I would like to challenge the Waldorf Critics to verify this quote by providing:
1)The full quote.
2)The date and title of the lecture in question.
3)The GA number of the volume wherein it was published.
I will personally donate $50 to PLANS for their court case if anyone can verify this quote. Since I am a very poorly paid public librarian, $50 represents a lot of money. I am putting up this offer to show that I am quite serious about the claim that PLANS and the WC publish lies.
A few ground rules – the lecture proffered must have been given in Norway. The quote needs to be translated into English, but it would be best if it could also be provided in German. If the quote provided includes ellipses, the amount of skipped text must be identified in brackets. I have ten days after a quote is offered to research the quote and confirm that it is indeed an accurate reflection of Steiner’s spoken words. The sample quotes need to be offered as comments on this blog. Any irrelevant quotes (attempts to prove that Steiner was indeed a racist by quoting other stuff, not connected with the example above) will result in $5 being subtracted from the proposed donation each time such a quote is put forward. And, to be even meaner, I will only publish the citation for such quotes, not the quote themselves.
I’m waiting…I have a feeling I’ll be waiting a very, very long time.

Waldorf Critics display ignorance

A great delight of my life as an undergraduate was studying Ancient Greek for 3 years. Reading Homer, Aristotle, Herodotus, Plato and Euripides in Greek (very badly, I admit) was a thrill. In addition, my fellow students were a diverse and fascinating bunch.
But I digress.

Are Rudolf Steiner’s Waldorf Schools `Non-Sectarian’?
Dan Dugan and Judy Daar

was published in Free Inquiry in 1994. I’m not going to take the time to analyze the entire article (already taken care of), but there is one goody I wanted to point out. At the very end of the article it says:

“The four temperaments” refers to Steiner’s revival of medieval psychology. Waldorf teachers classify personalities as sanguine, melancholic, phlegmatic, or choleric, and treat children differently according to their types.

Now it is true that scholars in the Middle Ages still used these terms, although during that period they had little to do with psychology: these concepts were actually central to medieval medical practice.
My amusement arises from two sources. First, the fact that Dan and Judy are unaware of the true source of the temperaments in Ancient Greece. The ideas were derived from Aristotle’s work with the elements and transformed into medical practice by Galen (2nd century A.D.) Everyone calls them “medieval” so at least their ignorance is common currency.
The second source of amusement is the following quote:

A psychology colleague at Oxford remarked recently that, as a classification of personality types, the four humours are as good as any that has ever been offered.

[p.153]
From Greek Fire: The Influence of Ancient Greece on the Modern World by Oliver Taplin. Macmillan, 1989.
I’d much rather study the work of someone like Rudolf Steiner, who had the good sense to recognize a useful set of concepts, develop them further and put them into practice; than hang out with the Waldorf Critics who, in spite of all the ranting about ad homs, just toss out the word “medieval” and feel no need to think further.
Ignorance and closed minds.

No Progress to Report

I’m delighted to report that PLANS has made no progress at all in correcting the lies on their web-site.
The piece about children having to all embroider the same design has not been modified (as suggested by Dan Dugan) with the word “usually.” The unsubstantiated claims that children “meditate” in school have neither been substantiated nor removed.
My highlighting of the outrageous cutting of Eugene Schwartz’ talk has been ignored. There it still sits, missing over 700 words, kindly represented by 4 sets of dots. Still no link to his complete talk. Still no apology for the blatant misrepresentation of his meaning. No withdrawal of the rumor mongering about the end of Mr. Schwartz’ employment at Sunbridge.
Now, the WC has provided a good explanation of why they don’t have to correct any of the lies we have been pointing out. It is because we aren’t pointing them out on the WC list. Right. Sure. Okay. Who could possibly argue with logic like that?

More on Dan’s evidence for soggy meditations (wet-on-wet)

Or is it soggy evidence? I’m beginning to think that Dan’s reasoning is all wet.
Last night I chatted with my sister, who spent, if I remember correctly, four years in a waldorf school. I asked her if she thought that wet-on-wet painting was a form of meditation exercise. She was just as incredulous as my brother. What makes this response amusing is my sister’s religious orientation: she is an extremely devout and devoted born-again Christian. She doesn’t approve of anthroposophy, although she tolerates me and I tolerate her (this is an achievement for both of us). But she is quite positive about waldorf education, is pleased that her great niece and nephew will be attending a waldorf school and has good memories of her years at the waldorf school.
So, do waldorf schools produce anthroposophists? This is one of the assertions that has been made on the WC.
In my family:
I attended waldorf two years as a teenager – several years later I started studying anthroposophy – mostly through the influence of my aunt who was a long-time anthroposophist
my sister was at a waldorf school for about 4 years (5th – 8th?) and became a born again Christian
my brother was at a waldorf school for about 6 years (3rd – 8th?) and is, as far as I can tell, cheerfully agnostic
my daughter was at two waldorf schools for a total of 13 years (nursery through 7th, 10th-12th) and eventually decided to study anthroposophy. She was at least 28 or older when she decided to take it seriously. Considering that she had a great-aunt who was a totally dedicated anthroposophist, a mother who was and still is very involved in anthroposophy it doesn’t seem likely that her “exposure” at school was a deciding factor. On the other hand, the fact that she liked her education is definitely the deciding factor in her choice of school for her children.
I’ll have to ask my daughter about her recent high school reunion. How many of her former classmates are involved with anthroposophy, I wonder?
DK