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Emerson Waldorf Diversity Committee - Report Racism

Diversity & Inclusion
Emerson Waldorf Diversity Committee

Emerson Waldorf is committed to providing a safe and nurturing educational environment for every student. We continually seek to improve the ways we serve and support all members of the community. A safe and supportive space is the fertile soil in which all the seeds of diversity may grow. Students feel safer in school when they are educated in a diverse setting, and classroom discussion is enriched with multi-cultural perspectives.

The school’s mission is to be in the vanguard of racial inclusion, and in establishing a community whose diversity may be also defined along ethnic, cultural, gender, sexuality, and economic lines. To do so, we invite speakers and engage in workshops to raise the consciousness of our teachers and staff and to challenge our preconceptions. Training and introspection can then help support our multi-pronged strategy to promote diversity.

First, we regularly review our curriculum to see how we might incorporate stories, paintings, music, and texts from various cultures.

While the traditional Waldorf curriculum is based on European sources, we strive to offer our students experiences from other cultures – a Congolese play, a slave narrative, or an historical narrative of the Lumbee tribe expelling the Klu Klux Klan from a North Carolina county are just a few examples. In addition, teachers strive to acknowledge different perspectives in their teachings. A history lesson about the Vietnam War might include the perspectives of North and South Vietnamese, and tales of European explorers might be complemented by writings of Native Americans.

Second, we endeavor to attract families from underrepresented communities and economically disadvantaged families who would like to benefit from Waldorf education. Our development efforts are directed, in part, to raising money for tuition assistance for families that otherwise might not be able to afford private school.

Third, we undertake extensive outreach activities to attract and train teachers from under-represented minorities. After all, students respond to teachers who look like them or who have had similar life experiences. And the community of teachers grows in sensitivity, awareness, and exposure along with its diversity.

Our challenge is to pursue all of these aspects of creating a diverse community. We are committed to the challenge.

One final note: Rudolf Steiner’s writings have sometimes been used to justify racial and cultural bias. The Emerson Waldorf School rejects any such use or interpretation of our educational philosophy. We will address instances of racism or cultural insensitivity through engagement and discipline.

If any member of the community – students, teachers, staff, family members – observes or feels threatened by racist behavior, please contact a member of the Diversity Committee.

Link: https://www.emersonwaldorf.org/diversityinclusivity

© Tom Last 2017