Statement on Steiner

As an accredited member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA), San Francisco Waldorf School stands behind the following AWSNA statement on racial comments in the works of the education's founder, Rudolf Steiner:

“Waldorf education espouses principles of respect for human dignity. Any narratives or indications made by Rudolf Steiner that are in contradiction to these principles are not the basis for Waldorf education and we unequivocally denounce such statements.”

The school's College of Teachers' position can be found in the statement below.

SFWS College of Teachers Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and on Steiner's References to RaceĀ 

With love and devotion, we strive to nourish the unique capacities of every student, that in each may awaken the critical and creative intelligence to envision the future, the compassion and commitment to understand others, and the courage to be a free and active participant in our common human experience. (SFWS Mission Statement) 
While we continue to uphold our stated mission, we know that our values are only as important as how we actually implement them. That is why we believe that we must recognize and play an important part in transforming the historical and contemporary injustices faced by so many in our country. We are committed to continuing our active inquiry into the sources of and solutions to injustice as part of our work as educators and builders of the future.

Waldorf education is rooted in anthroposophy, especially in what anthroposophy has to teach us about human development. The founder of anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), dealt with questions of individuality, diversity, and race in his talks and writings in the early 20th century. We acknowledge that some passages characterize race and other group identities in a way that we recognize as incorrect and offensive.

Throughout his life, Steiner spoke about the growing social and spiritual importance of diversity in communities of the future, principles of common humanity that we affirm. We explicitly reject any theory or statement in Rudolf Steiner’s work that characterizes or judges individual human beings as superior or inferior based on racial, gender, ethnic, or other group identity. We honor what diversity brings to the richness of human perspective.

There is no aspect of anthroposophy that the SFWS faculty embraces dogmatically. Rather we continually test it to see what is true in these times and in this particular place and what is healthy for our students. We do this while recognizing the history and ongoing impact of racism and the formative influence of the patriarchal, Eurocentric system on our culture and on educational practice in general. It is our goal to recognize these forces and awaken our awareness of unconscious biases around race, socio-economic status, sex and gender identity, sexual orientation, neurodiversity, age, physical ability, religion, nationality, and any other characteristic that might blind us to the dignity inherent in every individual.

We commit ourselves to a practice of inclusion built upon careful listening, constant learning, and heartfelt understanding of social justice and equity as we work toward a strong, diverse community based on the warmth of human relationship. We reject racism, patriarchy, and all forms of oppression through our work with young people who can bring these values into the future.

We see the future as dependent upon equity, inclusion, and justice, not only as an outcome of the way in which change happens, but more as an inevitable result of a way of being. We strive to emulate such a way of being, one based on love and morality that together manifest in the world as justice.

Originated May 20, 2020 by SFWS College of Teachers (with input from SFWS faculty and DEI Committees)

Adopted September 4, 2020

Action & Plans

Years ago, we began to address diversity, equity, and inclusion in the curriculum and in the school through active committee work. Please take a look at the plan in place in our Strategic Framework, and visit our Equity and Inclusion page for ongoing efforts and updates.