Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner
29 July 1920, Stuttgart
Dr. Steiner: I would first like to ask if anyone has something to say now that we have had time to think about things.
A teacher would like to know more about the financial situation of the school.
Dr. Steiner: I would ask Mr. Molt to answer that question, since he is better informed.
Emil Molt reports about the financial situation of the school.
A teacher asks if they could ask the audience at tonight’s public lecture to help.
A statement written by Dr. von Heydebrand and Dr. Hahn is read.
Dr. Steiner: That statement is excellent and will certainly have an effect. In my opinion, though, that will happen only if we also say that we can continue to work only if the public provides the necessary financial means.
A teacher: I would like to wait before turning back the new enrollments.
Dr. Steiner: Why shouldn’t we tell people now that we must reject the newly enrolled children if we do not receive the funds? Through just that, our appeal will be effective. We need to turn away the children because we cannot employ new teachers. I think it is necessary in order to be effective.
These requests have their difficulties. First, the public thinks the school is a Waldorf-Astoria school, and many people call it that. People think the Waldorf-Astoria Company supports the school financially, and they are surprised that this is not the case. Well, that is one thing. We must find some means of counteracting that kind of public surprise. We must clearly say that public support is necessary. That is one thing.
The second thing is that it is difficult to obtain money outside [Stuttgart for] the Waldorf School Association we are founding in Stuttgart. It is not the same as with the other central organizations in Stuttgart. Clearly The Coming Day and the Threefold are headquartered in Stuttgart. That is something for the world. Before people want to give money to the Waldorf School, they will want to send their children here. They ask us why we cannot raise the money here in the Stuttgart area, where most of the children come from. You can require people who bring their children from further away to pay so much to have their children here. We could demand a high tuition. If we expect people from outside to give money for a school association that is, in principle, for the Waldorf School, we must make it clear that we want to carry the Waldorf School we have begun in Stuttgart to the entire world. Of course, everyone asks why we don’t raise the money here in Stuttgart and vicinity. Those are difficulties we can counter by saying that we cannot extend the school beyond its present size. We will have to turn the children away if we do not receive financial help. I do not think we have reason for much optimism about that. Those two problems play an important role.
A teacher: Could we transform the Waldorf School Association into a world association if we could agree upon it?
Dr. Steiner: We formed the Waldorf School Association as a local group, to an extent under the assumption that the stockholders of the Waldorf-Astoria Company would be impressed and would provide some money. For that reason, I imagined we would have to create the World School Association separately.
A teacher: Dr. Steiner, you said we could take up the World School Association when we had moved forward.
Dr. Steiner: I meant that we would need to form the foundation from which it could grow, that we could clearly see the difficulties that exist in creating interest for the World School Association.
A teacher asks whether it would be possible to interest the Swiss members.
Dr. Steiner: The Swiss members are having so many difficulties because of the exchange rate that they can hardly do anything. In a brochure we recently sent out, we had to remove some words indicating that members in Middle Europe could do almost nothing because of the exchange problems. I am not terribly happy about pressuring the Swiss members anyway, since they do not easily open their wallets. We need to form a World School Association that does not include the Stuttgart school in its program, but has as its purpose the formation of schools according to our principles. The first responsibility of that association will be to undertake to support the Waldorf School.
Marie Steiner: I think we should first complete the Goetheanum, since otherwise the earlier projects would suffer because of the later projects. Members in Middle Europe can do much for the school. The people in Sweden and Norway are open to giving money. If we tap foreigners too much for the school, we will never complete the Goetheanum.
Dr. Steiner: It is certainly true that if we form a World School Association, then it would also be important that it could freely determine how to use the money, and that it could support the Free University in Dornach with that money. My idea was to centralize the entire financial organization. We want a central financial organization so that all money donated for anthroposophical use will go to one central organization. That was what we wanted to do in those days when we worked toward forming The Coming Day and The Future. Then things became confused because the Waldorf-Astoria Company could no longer help, and we had to form the Waldorf School Association. We also had to found a number of things in Dornach, but all of them are only formalities. We could also include the Association for Goetheanism when necessary. We need to create everything we need so that in the end, everything leads to a central organization.
That was also our intention when we founded The Coming Day. It cannot accept yearly membership fees. An organization like the World School Association does not represent any kind of decentralization. It is not so that The Coming Day would be the central administration; it is only an organization that would participate. What I am thinking of as a central administration would be much broader. I did not say you should consider The Coming Day a central administration. The intention was to have all the money we receive go into a unified central fund, and then be distributed according to what is needed. If we founded a World School Association, it could administer its own money, but we would have to found it so that it could be a part of that central organization, just as the Association for Goetheanism in Dornach could be when we have someone to administer it. Purely objective principles must prevail here. We can found the World School Association in the same way. All we need is that its bylaws state that the money it receives can go to an elementary school as well as to the Free University.
Marie Steiner: Otherwise, everything would be at the expense of the Goetheanum.
A teacher: The way things are, I do not think the name “Waldorf School Association” is correct. We could use it for the lower eight grades, but for what is beyond, we need an “Association for the Founding of Rudolf Steiner Schools.”
Dr. Steiner: Under no circumstances can we do that.A teacher (continuing): I wanted to indicate that quite specific schools are involved. I think the current name is detrimental.
Dr. Steiner: We need to find a much more modern name. Much of the opposition we encounter is due to the emphasis of the name. You will notice that people often say it with much emphasis. I can tell you that publishers accepted essays I wrote anonymously at one time or another, but when I included my name with them, the situation reversed. We could have another company name, but we will improve nothing by giving it a personal name. Marie Steiner: Could we perhaps talk about what name would be desirable?
Dr. Steiner: It would certainly be quite good if we did that, then we would settle things. Perhaps the Goetheanism School, or the School of The Coming Day. It needs something like that, something that looks toward the future. We also need to think of something that indicates it is not a state school. The name needs to express the independence from the state, the foundation of the school without the state. We can achieve that only through a neutral designation. We did that in the Waldorf School by using “Independent.” The designation “Independent Waldorf School” was good for the beginning, and had things continued as they had been, and had we not needed to form the Waldorf School Association, there would be little to say against that name. However, things have not gone on as they were. We need to express somehow the principle of independence from the state. We need something to indicate a school system created out of the independent cultural life. The question is whether we will be able to form the World School Association.
A teacher: Could we use “Anthroposophy” in the name?
Dr. Steiner: No, we need to leave that out.
A teacher: We should retain the name “Waldorf School” until the school reaches a certain size, so that interest does not wane. Dr. Steiner: Leaving the ninth grade aside, it is already so that we can no longer work with the eight classes as before. Without subsidies, we cannot continue the eight grades as we want. We will have to turn away new children for the eight grades unless we receive a subsidy. We can keep only the current level of activity. Then, there is the question of space. We cannot increase the number of students without increasing our space. With the fourth grade at fifty-three and the second grade at fifty-six children, there is also the question of additional teachers. In my opinion, if the classroom was large enough, a teacher could handle even a hundred children. Simply because we do not have the space, because our classrooms are too small, we will need more teachers. That will especially affect the future fourth and second grades that we will have to divide. In any event, we need to divide the first and fifth grades. The space problem is quite acute. There is still the problem of the eurythmy and gymnastics hall.
A teacher: Cultural School.
A teacher: I had thought of Independent Cultural School.
Marie Steiner: Perhaps someone else will think of something.
Dr. Steiner: It is not important to go into changing the name now. What is important is whether or not we receive the two million marks. We have this problem because we have accepted every child. The Waldorf-Astoria Company has done nothing wrong.
A teacher: It would be important to differentiate between the Waldorf School Association and the Waldorf School. We could leave the Waldorf School as the “Waldorf School.”
Dr. Steiner: The financial association does not need to carry that name. That would not hurt the Waldorf-Astoria Company. The Waldorf School is a historical fact that should remain. On the other hand, though, we do not need to expect that we should extend into other areas of Germany and Austria under the name of the Waldorf School in Stuttgart. I think that for the purely practical reason that people will not give any money for it. We should limit announcements for the association to Stuttgart and Württemberg. On the other hand, though, it seems clear to me that we should do things so we can have an international outreach.
A teacher: Are we deciding to drop the association?
Dr. Steiner: I am convinced that continuing the first eight grades is a salary problem. How much do we have in the School Association account? We need to know, otherwise we will never come out of this murky situation. We will be clear about our situation only when the School Association exists, and the Waldorf-Astoria Company increases the amount of its contribution. Then we would have money in the Association’s account. We need to be able to say exactly how much the Waldorf-Astoria Company will need to provide, either as a certain donation per child or a particular amount we can count upon. Right now, that is all unclear.
I have the feeling that the financial basis of the school depends upon the Waldorf-Astoria Company and, to a large extent, upon the private wealth of Mr. Molt. We need to differentiate those two things. My feeling is that Mr. Molt has financially supported the Waldorf School himself. In addition to what he personally gave, the Waldorf-Astoria Company also provided support. Perhaps it is not appropriate to say so now, but Mr. Molt’s private resources are strongly involved.
Emil Molt: It is difficult to discuss this. The school is registered as my private property. I paid for the construction. The school pays no rent, and I also paid other amounts for the other school buildings.
Dr. Steiner: It is good that we know this. The problem we have is that the Waldorf-Astoria Company has come out a little too good in the picture of the Waldorf School. I do not find it responsible to give all the credit for the existence of this school to the Waldorf- Astoria Company when they were really not so enthusiastic about becoming the patron of the school, whereas, Mr. Molt actually did most of it. We could at best say that the Waldorf-Astoria Company is a member of the School Association.
It is certainly not right when people from out of town pay only what it costs for their child. They should also pay a part of the other costs, like the desks, and so on. However, this completely justifiable situation should be compensated for by not making the school purely a concern of Stuttgart. People need to understand that they will not have to pay so much when the school becomes an international organization.
A teacher: The tuition would be a thousand marks, since each child costs us about that much.
Dr. Steiner: If we knew the Waldorf-Astoria Company would pay that amount for the children of its employees, that would not help much, since we would not be able to accept other children without donations. We must maintain our principle of accepting children who cannot pay the tuition. The school suffers from the fact that, aside from the children of the Waldorf-Astoria Company, it is a capitalistic school. We can say these things publicly. In Switzerland, I was always in favor of saying that if every citizen gave a few marks, we could easily finish the Goetheanum. If we were to put that to people strongly, they would realize that what we are doing is for the general good, namely, that we accept poor children, for whom wealthier people pay the tuition. What I wanted to say before was that we cannot set the tuition for outside children according to what we are lacking. Therefore, we must continue to try to obtain public donations. We can reach this goal only when a wealthier person pays the tuition for a poor child.
Have we included patronages in the Waldorf School Association?
A teacher: I had thought that the membership would be a thousand marks for patrons. There are not many patrons yet.
A teacher: People could give bricks to the Waldorf School.
Dr. Steiner: We can certainly do that. Collecting is good work. Of course, when we tell people they can give a small amount, then they will give a small amount. The members should go out and collect.
The main question is the formation of the World School Association. We must connect everything else with it. I still have not heard how much the Waldorf School Association has in its account. I would like to know that.
A teacher: Sixty to eighty thousand marks.
Dr. Steiner: So that is approximately what we have.
A teacher: The Waldorf factory pays 170,000 marks per year.
Dr. Steiner: Can we count on such donations in the coming years?
Emil Molt: If the economic situation does not break down, the amount will be raised to 200,000.
Dr. Steiner: And if that does not happen?
Emil Molt: That is why I am at the head of the company, in order to influence things enough.
Dr. Steiner: So, that would be the costs to the Waldorf-Astoria Company. We have so many wealthy parents who could afford to pay an appropriate amount, and who cannot demand that the company gives large donations. We need to approach those people who have an interest in the school if it does not fade as soon as we ask them to open their wallets. Otherwise, it is better the children do not come. We are not here to enroll children simply because the school is close. We will see what happens in the next week. If nothing happens, we will have to go back on the enrollments. There will be a parting of the ways if people say a unified school is one where no one pays anything, where everybody is equal, and they have nothing against that. We do not need to consider it an honor that the children of high government officials attend, but that in the future the children of wealthy people will sit next to those of poorer people.
Perhaps we can still gain some clarity about the question of the World School Association. In all these things we may not forget that we have great difficulty in obtaining money for the building in Dornach. We will have fewer difficulties in funding a school, particularly in America. We would have the least number of difficulties if we would create a sanitorium. People understand that we need a sanitorium, but they have less understanding that we need schools. However, they have no understanding for the building in Dornach.
A teacher: Then we will have to connect a sanitorium with the school.
Dr. Steiner: Our schools are built differently, but we have no way to express that. Otherwise, we could form a World Association for Young Invalids. A “School for Health.” That would be effective. However, that wouldn’t work. We will have to connect things in our circulars so that we have a common fund that will pay for sanitoriums and schools. If we want to start schools, we would have to give the Association the right to use the money for Dornach, also. Otherwise, the Association would be counterproductive in regard to Dornach and would suck up all the donations. If we transform eurythmy into curative eurythmy, we would soon have a sanitorium. I will try to do something in a very limited way to show what can be done. I have been asked if we can use eurythmy curatively. I will try to do that, and you will see that people will come.
We must emphasize that the school as such is independent of the state, and that it is created out of an independent cultural life.
A teacher: We should try to make specific proposals concerning the World School Association. Before we approach the public, we should do that and then wait to see the effect. We should not give the impression we cannot continue.
Dr. Steiner: We have so many applications that we can accept them only if we receive more donations. Do you think our appeal gives the impression that we feel we are failing? I wanted the faculty to emphasize what we have achieved with the school that would interest the public enough that they make some donations. The number of applications was emphasized. It appeared to me important that we wait with the numbers. There are already a hundred we cannot accept unless we receive financial support. I propose we write in a circular that the children are pouring in. I would also suggest that a teacher say that, because it makes more of an impression. Now we need only find a way of saying that so that people don’t say to us, “Well, if the children are pouring in, then their parents should pay.” It is one of our principles that we do not require every child to pay tuition. That is the reason for our difficulties, namely, that we accept children who cannot pay tuition.
A teacher proposes that Dr. von Heydebrand and Mr. Hahn prepare a statement to be read this evening.
Dr. Steiner: I have nothing against that since it is not actually a meeting. We could do that. I think, though, we should state it more clearly so that people become more concretely aware. I don’t think such a public statement would act against private activities. Perhaps it would be good to say this publicly.
There is a proposal that we continue this discussion again, and that you come ready to fire from both barrels. Is there anything against that? If you want to call another meeting today, you should do that. I cannot be here this afternoon.
A teacher asks about the curriculum of the ninth grade and about building a dormitory. Some people have offered to take children as a means of making a living or simply as a secondary income. There was also a question about the Abitur.
Dr. Steiner: Concerning the ninth grade curriculum, a primarily pedagogical question, we will take care of that at the beginning of the next school year. I will present that as a course of five to seven new lectures, which I still need to prepare. I will give them to the faculty at the beginning of the school year. Planning the curriculum for the ninth grade is something that will take five or six days, and to that extent we should put it off until the beginning of the next school year. Now we need only decide who will take the individual classes.
We also have the problem of the Abitur. That is a not so simple a question. If we were working toward official recognition of our middle school, we would have to be untrue to our principles. We would then be dependent upon the state and could no longer speak of an independent school. We can remain true to our principles only if we tell the children that they will have to take the state examination if that they want a position with the state, or that they will need to take the examination that gives them the right to attend a university. As soon as we begin to negotiate with the state, we will become dependent upon it. The state will probably demand that some state inspector be at our graduation examination. We may not allow that kind of substantial modification of our instruction. If they want to look at the school, they should do it, but we cannot allow ourselves to enter into any real negotiations. We will not be untrue to our principles if the state examines those children who want the security of civil service.
Forming a ninth grade really makes sense only if we intend to form a completely independent college. It makes sense only if we intend to form an independent college at the same time, and then it will not matter whether we have an Abitur or not. Then we will have to look only at the question of who may attend the college, but that is a question we can put off. By then, the situation will have changed enough that [the state] can ignore the accreditation of such a college.
A dormitory would be desirable. That is something connected with accepting children from far away. It would be quite nice. A lot of people talk about wanting to send their children here. We would immediately have the two X boys from Dornach. At present, they are only circling overhead, but soon they will land on the nose of the housemother. That is certainly an enticing prospect.
There is a question about what color to paint the desks.
Dr. Steiner: We could certainly paint the desks. Perhaps lilac, light bluish. We can do that with normal paint. The paints used in Dornach are too expensive to use here.
I brought some drawings from a few of the children in Dornach that Mr. B. has brought along quite well. These are drawings by the children who were given a theme, and we see the result for each of the children. When we have some time, I would like to go through these drawings and discuss them with you. They are important if you are thinking about publishing something. When I mentioned to little G.W. that we would display her drawings in the Waldorf School, she said she was making clay models, also. In this way, the children’s individual personalities are wonderfully expressed. I have no thought whatsoever of making a rule in that regard. Someone else might do it differently, but you can learn much from that. Mr. B. tells the children one thing or another, then, after giving them a little instruction, allows them simply to bring their ideas into some form. The children discuss it among themselves.
In the afternoon, there was a discussion with an extended group, but without Dr. Steiner, about how to raise money and about the formation of a World School Association. In the evening, Dr. Steiner gave the lecture “The Decline of the West” [July 29, 1920, contained in GA 335, not published in German or English].