steiner schools pr problem
Below describes a meeting where some steiner people and a politician are working out how to deal with the bad PR the steiner system gets from ex parents who have withdrawn their children from the occultist esoteric education system and the obvious down side to steiner’s actual writings to do with races. Interesting how they are looking to spin it so that they can get government funding in the UK for their so-called “Free Schools.”
Race and PR:
Sam Freedman was asked by a trustee, at the very end of the morning session, whether or not he could foresee any other particular problems with Steiner schools becoming state funded.
He responded, verbatim, as follows:
“Not in terms of the way we want to legislate, but, I mean I’m sure this is something that you all know about anyway, there’s a big PR issue, and if a lot of Steiner schools open quite quickly in the state sector, I mean I’ve been, erm, I’ve had all sorts of people writing to me just because they found out that I was coming to this meeting. Attacking. Attacking the Steiner Schools… Anonymously. Through social networking. People find out who you are, find out your account number and bombard you with articles, negative articles… This was pointing out all the things they think are wrong with Steiner movement, link after link after link. And that’s just from me coming to this meeting, so you have to be aware, well I know you’ll all be aware anyway, but this will be on a much, much bigger scale.”
The discussion went on to identify two problem PR areas: 1) Accounts from parents who are or have been unhappy with the Steiner schooling system and those that have had negative experiences associated with the schools, and 2) the writings of Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy.
It was identified that the latter issue was going to be a greater problem.
Sam Freedman stated that it was important for the Schools to “explain to people quite strongly that they are not teaching what he [Rudolf Steiner] said”. He likened the situation to the fact that not all Christians believe every word of the Bible.
One of the trustees noted that the very name “Steiner”, is potentially limiting. He noted that in other countries schools have called themselves “Waldorf” schools so as to distance themselves from the Steiner writings.
Rachel Wolf suggested that the Schools should therefore seek to get a “more mixed group of people interested from the beginning, because that is the best way that you [the Steiner schools] can appear like an equal, diverse and principled organisation, and you want that from day 1 if you possibly can, and you should start doing that now.”
The importance of getting a more diverse intake of children was noted, given the likely effects of the negative PR currently circulating on the internet, coupled with images of classes filled with only white, middle-class children. It was acknowledged that such an image would be very damaging to the movement.
An observer asked Sam Freedman whether or not a Conservative government would consider intervening with Steiner teacher training to ensure that the racist aspects of Steiner’s writings would not be included. Sam Freedman replied by stating that if the issue becomes a big PR problem for Steiner schools, and the state is funding those schools, it will become a big PR problem for the state. He went on to say that in light of this, Steiner schools should seek to nip any potential problems with their teacher training in the bud, because if ministers feel under pressure from negative PR, this is likely to be problematic for the schools. Sam Freedman stated that the Schools should ensure that they can explain their position very clearly, so that they can counter the negative criticisms immediately.
At the close of the morning session, Rachel Wolf stated that she would be happy to offer the Steiner schools Fellowship free media training to prepare them for tackling the PR problems.
Read more here at “UK anthroposophy.”