In an April 2019 article called "Beyond 100: A return to the social justice roots of Waldorf Education" Dr. Torin Finser of Antioch University New England encourages Waldorf elementary and high schools to form a new Social Justice vision of Waldorf Education. The ultimate aim of Waldorf Education has often been described as the development of fully free human beings. Dr. Finser advocates a new vision for Waldorf Education.
Waldorf Schools need to "connect with the current issues dividing our society: political polarization, racism, income inequality, immigration, nationalism, and religious fundamentalism." By focusing on these problems in the grade schools he says it can transform the local community. It sounds like Dr. Finser would like to turn the children into political activists by introducing them to how terrible the world really is.
Social Justice Is A Political Movement Based On Marxist Ideology
I don't know if Dr.Finser realizes that the modern Social Justice movement is a political movement based on Marxist ideology that views the world as a struggle between the oppressor and the oppressed. To ensure the diversity and equality of outcome envisioned it is always necessary to give power to a group such as a "diversity" committee. This inevitibly will divide the school like the Social Justice movement has divided the country.
Marxist ideology appeals to those who are looking for "compassionate community". But whenever Marxist ideology is applied it always fails because of the authoritarian force that is required to make it work. Waldorf Schools would no longer free children, but instead become Marist indoctrination centers. Learn more
Rudolf Steiner's Vision
Rudolf Steiner based all his work on human freedom rather than Social Justice as a way to world peace:
"Freedom is the only word which has a ring of immediate truth today… If, instead of such slogans as peace founded on justice, or peace imposed by force, people would only speak of peace based on freedom, then this word would echo round the world and kindle in the hearts of all a sense of security." Rudolf Steiner
Dr. Finser wants to look ahead with a new Social Justice vision of Waldorf Schools. Here is more from his proposal in the article.
Dr. Finser Celebrates 100 Years (of Waldorf Education) and Looks Ahead
“That demarcation [of 100 years] is an opportunity for recognition, celebration, and also self-assessment,” says Dr. Finser. “Where have we succeeded [and] where have we not succeeded? I’m happy to be self-critical…everything we do has room for growth and further development.”
Now that he’s no longer directing a department at AUNE, Dr. Finser is flexing his ability to engage with that enormous audience and have that reflection happen. Through lectures and workshops, Dr. Finser is embarking on his mission to teach about Waldorf education and plan for the future with a diverse group of educators and students in mind.
Jordan was the first of many planned lectures and workshops. This February, he was also the keynote at a national conference at MingDao University in Taiwan as part of his Beyond 100 initiative. For the recognition of the centennial, Dr. Finser is also scheduled to attend upcoming events in Australia, New Hampshire, and Europe this year — by November, he will have spoken on almost every continent within a year.
His lectures have focused on a theme he calls “Beyond 100: What will it take for Waldorf schools to flourish in the next 100 years?”
“In my talks, I’m using the phrase ‘Waldorf Education for Social Justice’. This [anniversary] is an opportunity to sound some of our major themes. Waldorf Education for social justice in particular.”
In both Amman and Taiwan, Dr. Finser wove a story for his audience on the social roots of Waldorf education laid out in 1919 and the original mandate for social justice and the core pillars of Waldorf was fixation. In particular, he emphasized the need for schools to connect with the current issues dividing our society: political polarization, racism, income inequality, immigration, nationalism, and religious fundamentalism to name a few. Focus on these problems at the educational level can be transformative and put power in the hands of the community to address their immediate concerns.
Dr. Finser is particularly interested in the establishment of connections between the students, their teachers, and their parents. In these bonds, he sees the potential for the development of new emotional and spiritual community resources centered in Waldorf schools.
“How can Waldorf education help children develop empathy and greater compassion for others? Can we also fight the inner battles many of us face and look at life’s challenges with new inner fortitude? As an example, having lost loved ones, many people confront death and illness as never before. How can a school community develop resilience when faced with a loss?” (See new book mentioned above)
His future lectures across the world will delve deeper into these ideas, spreading his vision of a compassionate community to new audiences. In a world of uncertainty, these are all important considerations for a community this prolific and influential to consider moving forward.