Don't forget to visit The Waldorf Review for more up-to-date school reviews and news stories.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Racism Conference Emails

Email Communications about:
Meetings regarding the teaching of Racism as physiology to Pete’s Child

My son was taught a very disturbing lesson in physiology class by Merrily Lovell.  He reported to me that he was taught that “the blood of Europeans is more evolved than the blood of Africans and Asians”.  Karen Grant, my son's sponsor, explained this to me as “Out of Africa Theory”.  She needs to read about what Out of Africa theory says. Then she said none of the children took anything racist away from that lesson (as if she knew).  I had already been posting my experience on   In an attempt to stop me from posting more about this, Karen Grant agreed to meet with me to discuss the lesson that was taught to my son and the possibility of racism surfacing Waldorf education.  I found out later, the only reason we were talking was to keep me from posting on  Naturally, they didn’t want any part of these exchanges posted... but I felt some of the points they raised were worth noting.  Anyway... The following email exchanges give you an idea of how it went.

From: Pete Karaiskos
To: Karen Grant
Subject: Meeting
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2004 11:30:12 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Karen,

We talked about having a meeting together.  I'm wondering if you are still interested in having this and when it might be, and who might attend.  As I'm not particularly interested in attending any of the Essential Conversations (I don't think they are all that productive for me), I'm thinking this more private meeting might be worthwhile and a reasonable substitute.  I have two people in mind that I would like to ask to participate.

Thanks Karen,


Response from Karen Grant: 10/22/2004
Pete, I look forward to a meeting.  My schedule is kind of extreme right now because I have a particularly heavy teaching load and the 8th grade interviews have begun during the main lesson time.  I can meet on Thursday and Friday afternoons from 2:30 until about 4:30.  Are the two people you have in mind available during those times?  I guess I was thinking maybe Janet Knight would be helpful, though I'm not sure she could meet before 3:30 on either of those days.  Let me know what you think and if you're available at either of those times.  I could meet next week. Karen

From: Pete Karaiskos
To: Karen Grant
Subject: Our conference
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2004 21:07:58 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Karen,

I tried calling you this evening but missed you.  I was out of town all day yesterday.  I was hoping to have our conference tomorrow, Thursday at 2:30 as you suggested.  I have asked Alex Houghton and Dr. Knight if they wouldn't mind attending and both have agreed.  If this is too short notice, we could shoot for Friday afternoon instead.  Please let me know.

Thank you.


Response from Karen Grant: 10/28/2004 6:22am
Pete, This isn't much notice, but I'm pretty sure I can clear my calendar.  I'll call you at 11:30 if I can't do it; otherwise let's plan on having the meeting today at 2:30.  Karen
Meeting ensued that day.
Email from Karen Grant: 10/28/2004 7:26pm
Pete, Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed our meeting today.  You brought up some good points, and I'm eager to share them with Lynn, Martina, and Bari.  I appreciate so much your willingness to come to the table.  I do understand, better than before the meeting, what your concerns are.  Give me a chance to read through the Internet papers you gave me, and then we can reschedule another meeting.  If you think of anything else you'd like me to think about before the next meeting, just email me.  Also, if you'd like another meeting before I contact you, just let me know.  Karen

From: Pete Karaiskos
To: Karen Grant
Subject: openwaldorf
Date: Mon, 1 Nov 2004 13:16:15 -0800 (PST)

Hi Karen,

I know you've probably been too busy to nose through the stack of papers I gave you at our meeting, but as the thread I gave you had been dead for some time, and I realized this topic is still meaningful, I decided to add a few comments to it to see if anyone else is still interested in discussing it.  I mentioned your comment about Waldorf traditions vs Anthroposophy.  The link below will bring you to the last page of the thread, if you are interested.

Warm wishes,


Response from Karen Grant: 11/3/2004 5:39am

 Dear Pete,
     I appreciate your email letting me know that you had added more to the openwaldorf site.  I was surprised and disappointed, as I thought you had answered in the affirmative at our meeting when I asked you to stay off for awhile as we tried to work directly to answer your questions.  I guess I can talk to Alex and Jimmy to see how I misread your intention.  Perhaps you weren't happy or trustful of my answers, but I had hoped that you would keep the conversations in our meetings between you and me, and Alex and Jimmy, who you had invited.  I must admit, I felt betrayed to find my ideas represented by you on this site, even though you didn't use my name.  I feel like I should be able to represent myself if I want to, which I don't.  Anyway, I don't know exactly how to move forward now.  What do you think?
Sincerely, Karen

Nov 5, 2004 – I emailed Karen to ask about my son’s homework.  She added the following to her response:
Email from Karen Grant: Nov 6, 2004

Pete, Here's the email Christine sent back to me regarding Nick's homework.  I also want to let you know that I have begun speaking to the staff in admissions and outreach, and so far I've experienced only openness to your concerns, so that gives me some encouragement, and I hope it does the same for you.  I just wanted to let you know that we do have two classes occurring weekly on campus for parents who are interested in what lies behind Waldorf education.  These classes are announced weekly in the Lunchbox Express and are open to any interested parents.  Well, now I must begin correcting papers.  Let me know if you need anything else.  Karen

***Karen Grant tries to get me to join a Waldorf study group... and basically blows me off...

From: Pete Karaiskos
To: Karen Grant,  "Dr. James Knight",  Alex Houghton
Subject: Next meeting?
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 16:27:18 -0800 (PST)

Hi everyone,

I am wondering if we are moving forward with another meeting.  I felt like there was some good progress made last time and that we should meet again if everyone is still interested.  I would love to have Martina, Lynn and Bari join us.

 11/11/2004 two positive replies:
Alex Houghton: Hi, Whenever everyone's ready, I'm there.  Alex
J. Marshall Knight: Hello, I am also hoping there will be a next meeting. I feel there is much to be accomplished when "good" and "right thinking" people commune together. Please let's continue.  J. Marshall Knight
Reply from Karen Grant: 11/11/2004
Pete, I have made some progress; Bari gave me a name of someone I can contact re: the spiritual aspects.  I have not had time to contact him.  I am absolutely overwhelmed with work right now.  I have many papers and tests to grade before I write grades on the one main lesson and two track classes I taught in the first nine weeks.  This work takes me approximately one hour per student, so 55 hours in addition to my regular work must be done before next weekend.  I think we may have to wait until after the Thanksgiving break.  I'm sorry, but I don't know what else to do.  Karen