Attachment to the Press Release in 1999 by the two school districts of Twin Ridges and Sacramento city

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 education.
  • 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 the Nazis.
  • 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 Education

  • 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 Rudolf Steiner.
  • Questions about the status of the lawsuit may be referred to Chris Keiner, the attorney representing the two districts, at (916) 446-9292. 
  • 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.