As a new school year opens, we send warm wishes for joyful beginnings and a successful year to come. We know that, in addition to the pleasure of greeting colleagues, students, and their families after the summer break, the start of a new school year brings many demands for meetings, organization, planning, and all the details of setting up rooms and campuses. We wish you well with those many activities.
As this year opens, in addition to the routine demands of a new year, many of you may be addressing your community’s reactions to the recent incident in Charlottesville and ensuing events. With this in mind, our back to school messagetakes a sober tone as we feel compelled to add our voice to the many that are sounding across the nation, strongly affirming our commitment to core values of inclusion, social justice, and tolerance.
The Alliance for Public Waldorf Education is firmly opposed to hate speech or acts, prejudice, exclusion, and bigotry in any form. Key to the impulse of Public Waldorf education, we strive towards diversity, equity, inclusion, and access for all to an enriched education. These values are included in our Core Principles and they live strongly in our work and in our member schools. We believe in the transformative power of education as a force for social change and we stand for the free, respectful, inclusive exchange of diverse points of view and opinions.
Waldorf education was founded during a time of great social and economic upheaval when many found it difficult to imagine a positive future. In forming that first school in Stuttgart, Germany, in September 1919, Rudolf Steiner spoke of his conviction that positive, lasting social transformation would only be possible through education, and that a new art of education was needed. From those beginnings and that conviction, today’s global school movement was launched. Each one of us continues to strive towards social transformation through education. Our intent is echoed in the frequently re-tweeted words of Nelson Mandela:
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…
People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love…
For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
We affirm our commitment to education informed by love.
Sadly, crisis navigation has become a somewhat routine aspect of school life. We stand with you as you welcome your students back “home” and as you provide stability and security for them during a time of uncertainty and change. We support your work on behalf of every child. We affirm the core values of human decency, respect, and tolerance, essential for the health of our communities. We look forward to active exploration of these topics throughout the upcoming year.
With best wishes and in peace,
Liz Beaven, President for the Board of the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education
Rainbow Rosenbloom, Vice-President
Chamomile Nunz, Secretary
Charles Burkam, Treasurer
Victoria Temple, Administrative Coordinator