Critics of Waldorf education often label it a “closed system” that resists innovation and does not tolerate debate. In reality, Waldorf education has been undergoing profound changes. Responding to intense pressure from parents, independent Waldorf schools have quietly replaced “generalist” class teachers with specialists, introduced testing and grades at the middle school level, and made homework in early grades more the rule than the exception. But because of the schools’ aversion to open debate, these changes have come in through the “back door,” and have become accomplished facts that are hard to reverse.
With this in mind, the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education dared to tread where independent Waldorf schools fear to go, and invited Rainbow Rosenbloom and Eugene Schwartz to engage in a debate about a number of substantive issues living in the Waldorf movement. This debate took place on January 14, 2012, at Rudolf Steiner College. Thom Schaefer was the moderator and Adam Bittelston the offscreen timekeeper.