Dan’s PLANS Scams

It’s all over now. There’s nothing left to do with PLANS’ seven year long lawsuit except give it a proper burial.
But PLANS has signalled their intention to take the smoldering remains of this case Uptown, to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. As if they haven’t suffered enough indignity~~
Nearly a decade spent gathering evidence for this case, and yet still somehow PLANS failed to show up with a single piece of qualifying evidence during the trial. You’d think this cold splash of reality would give even the band of loyal merrymen at the Waldorf Critics List at least a moment or two of sober reflection. If so, there are no signs of it so far.
Dan Dugan, ably assisted by co-founder Debra Snell, spent the last several days peddling a PR cover story. It wasn’t a rout, he assured his absurdly gullible followers. No, Dan declared, PLANS actually staged a walk-out. In protest, he suggested, over the judge’s “unfairness” in an earlier ruling to disallow some of the PLANS witnesses. If PLANS couldn’t use those witnesses, it seemed, then by God, PLANS would just dig in their heels and take a principled stand against calling any other witnesses either. So there. Humph!
Dan reassures everyone, PLANS “has plenty of witnesses“. But they simply “opted” not to call any of them. “We quit..”
I must admit, this was a stunningly bold legal tactic, by any measure. It’s time for the opening move of the trial, and the Plaintiff passes? Of course, this daring tactic makes it absolutely assured that the Plaintiff will lose their own case, but hey—it does have one indisputable advantage. It’s probably the only tactic used in over two hundred years of American jurisprudence that has never once triggered a defense attorney’s objection.

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.

Lies on the PLANS website

After thrashing with critics on PLANS discussion list, off and on, for a few years now, I relish the opening to contribute something to Dan Dugan’s challenge to “point out the lies” on his website. A very entertaining assignment :-).
At PLANS’s official website, waldorfcritics, things begin well. It’s hard to find anything wrong with its opening sentence: “Welcome!”. But things immediately slide downhill from there.
Second sentence at this official website begins: “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”. Of those eight members identified, six are from Northern California. A total of four of the eight are former Waldorf education parents, one of them also a former trustee. Two are public school teachers, one of them with no apparent link to Waldorf education. The other did actually teach for a time in a public school which had adopted Waldorf methods in the classroom (though this particular teacher did not). So four of the eight (including the teachers) are decidedly NOTformer Waldorf parents, teachers, students, administrators and trustees.” In fact, none of the eight have publicly identified themselves to be a former Waldorf student, although one of them (one of the teachers) did serve a very brief stint (a couple days?) in a “Waldorf for Public School Educators” training program before dropping out.
The individuals PLANS has identified as “supporting advisors” have no relationship to Waldorf either. Instead, I think it would be fair to describe them as borrowed ‘guns’ from Dan Dugan’s “Skeptic’s Society” circle. At least Mr. Randi’s presence on the “advisory” panel broadens the “skeptic” panel beyond Mr. Dugan’s Northern California backyard, where the rest of them all live. I think Mr. Randi comes all the way from Florida.
PLANS is not a “world-wide network” organization-it’s a motley handful, most of them living close enough that they could lunch together. And this motley crew beckons attention with just these three fingers.
1. A lawyer, who has been funded by a religious organization which was deceived into believing that Waldorf schools engage in witchcraft. Of course, along with this lawyer, PLANS has a lawsuit, initiated against two public schools for incorporating Waldorf methods in the classroom. One of those schools no longer exists, the other no longer incorporates Waldorf methods~~yet the lawsuit lives on.
2. A website~~one filled with laughably alarmist graspings, such as “Nature Table or Altar” and “Wet-on-Wet Painting as Talisman”, as well as some very “unfunny”, shameful and disgusting tabloid garbage like, “DENVER SKINHEAD’S FAMILY PROFESSED SOPHISTICATED VERSION OF ARYAN SUPERIORITY MYTH”.
3. And lastly, a public discussion board~~which has, over the course of seven or eight years, lured a very limited number to come and post complaints they have toward Waldorf, a surprisingly sizeable number of these people having had no real experience with Waldorf at all. That’s right–no real experience, neither as student, parent or teacher, but rather they’re what I’d call the garden variety “internet opinionators”, who despite having no experience or related qualifications, do enjoy giving a good sermon from the soapbox.
Wow. I managed to say a lot, and I haven’t even gone past PLANS’s first paragraph! Maybe I can write another chapter later, one on the claim made in paragraph two, “Together, we have performed exhaustive research on Waldorf schools”–the “exhaustive research” which uncovers all manner of reportedly Secret Truths about Waldorf education that nobody who is actually *IN* the Waldorf movement knows anything about.
And in this, I see an intriguing paradox. Which is the *real* Waldorf? And which is the *lie*? The Waldorf that is actually practiced in real schools, by real Waldorf teachers? Or the archetype Waldorf school pieced together via PLANS “exhaustive research” as their “researchers” cherry-pick for odd quotes through the voluminous writings of Rudolf Steiner, reassembling the queerest fragments and filaments into a bizarre monster that the overwhelming majority of Waldorf educators dissociate themselves from immediately, a (luckily) thus far wholly abstract institution which has no real counterpart in existence outside the hallowed walls of the PLANS Research Lab?
Linda Clemens