|Attachment to the Press
Release in 1999 by the two school districts of Twin Ridges and Sacramento
Facts about Waldorf Instructional Methods
A method of instruction that integrates literature, the arts,
and an appreciation the natural sciences into a child's development and
Private Waldorf schools have existed in the United States
since 1928. Within the last decade, approximately a dozen public schools
have adopted Waldorf methods.
Waldorf parents include Paul Newman, Joe Namath, and Mikhail
Baryshnikov. Waldorf graduates have included Victor Naavasky, publisher
of The Nation and Ken Chenault, president of American Express.
Waldorf requires intense parental involvement in their children's
school and education.
Waldorf schools were first opened in Germany but closed by
Waldorf instruction aims to create life-long lovers of learning
and the arts.
Waldorf students score at or above average on standardized
tests and score significantly above average in the upper grades.
The Sacramento City Unified School District Waldorf methods
program requires a comprehensive parent orientation including classroom
visits before a child is accepted. The school is a magnet school where
parents make the choice whether to enroll their children.
The Twin Ridges Waldorf methods program requires a similar
orientation program. Their school is a charter school where parents
make the choice whether to enroll their children.
Both schools provide a public education program that is consistent
with the intent and purpose of charter and magnet school legislation
to provide innovative and effective instructional methods in a public school.
Facts About PLANS and Its Lawsuit Against Public
People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools (PLANS) filed a
lawsuit in 1998 against Sacramento City Unified School District and the
Twin Ridges School District claiming that the districts teach religion
in their Waldorf Schools.
In May 1999 Sacramento City Unified School District filed
a motion for summary judgment which would have dismissed the case without
a trial on the issues brought forward by PLANS.
The judge denied the motion for summary judgment in September
1999 because he believed the case could not be decided without a hearing
to resolve important facts that were in dispute. However, the judge did
rule that the public school programs using Waldorf methods have a secular
(non-religious) purpose. The case is expected to be heard in February 2000.
Both school districts do not consider Waldorf instructional
methods to be based on any religious creed. The schools also do not teach
religion, Anthroposophy, or any of the personal philosophical beliefs of
Questions about the status of the lawsuit may be referred
to Chris Keiner, the attorney representing the two districts, at (916)
The PLANS lawsuit is sponsored by the Pacific Justice Institute,
a right wing organization that fights to abolish the United States' constitutional
separation of church and state. PLANS falsely claims it is fighting to
maintain public schools free of religious instruction. However, PJI supports
distribution of Christian literature in public buildings a position
that would appear to be in conflict with their support of PLANS legal action.
PJI is also threatening to sue the Fremont Unified School District for
the district's exclusion of religious counseling services in referral lists
provided to students and staff.