Sunday, November 07, 2010

13-year Lawsuit Thrown Out

Are Waldorf Schools religion-based or not?

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit that has kept the Sacramento City Unified School District in court for nearly 13 years fending off a challenge to the Waldorf teaching method used in two district schools.

People for Legal and Non-Sectarian Schools, or PLANS Inc., sued the district in 1998, claiming the method is inextricably linked to anthroposophy – the philosophy of Waldorf method founder Rudolf Steiner. The suit contended anthroposophy is a religion and that its use in public schools violates the First Amendment's establishment clause, which precludes mixing religion with government institutions...

In a 20-page order issued Friday, Damrell agreed that Bush had failed to show that anthroposophy is a religion, and he dismissed the lawsuit.

My limited knowledge of Waldorf schools tells me that they're a bit flaky, but not every belief structure is a religion. I've said it before and I'll say it again: public schools aren't sacred, but universal public education is. If parents want to send their kids to Waldorf schools, or to performing arts magnet schools, or to technology centers--as long as the schools are teaching the state-approved curriculum, for the most part I'm OK with having such schools.

And before you ask: no, I would not support publicly funding schools that seek to subvert our Western way of life, that advocate the overthrow of the US government, etc.

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