Press Release 18 November 2004
United States District Court in the Eastern District of California denied a motion for Summary Judgement in the case of PLANS, Inc. (People for Legal and Non-Sectarian Schools) v. Sacramento City Unified and Twin Ridges Elementary School Districts. PLANS brought the First Amendment lawsuit in 1998.

In denying the motion, the Court wrote, “PLANS must prove it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on two related issues: (1) whether anthroposophy constitutes a ‘religion’ for Establishment Clause purposes; and (2) if anthroposophy is a religion, whether there is anthroposophical curriculum at the two public Waldorf-method schools at issue.”

PLANS fails to prove its claim that “anthroposophy is a religion”

PLANS did not succeed in convincing the Court about its allegation that ‘anthroposophy is a religion’. The Court wrote, “… PLANS fails to define a single, unequivocal set of beliefs or practices, which can be definitively labeled ‘anthroposophy.’…As a result, PLANS has not met its burden as the definition of anthroposophy remains a disputed issue of material fact.”

The Court went on to say, “[The] School Districts have set forth considerable evidence that anthroposophy is a ‘philosophy,’ not a ‘religion.’. . .  Notably, PLANS concedes that “[a]nthroposophists claim that [a]nthroposophy is merely a science – a belief system that does not require one to reject his or her religion to pursue….” 

PLANS presents no evidence Waldorf-methods public schools teach religion

Concerning alleged anthroposophical curriculum at the public Waldorf-methods schools, the court wrote, “PLANS presents no curriculum evidence from either school at issue to support such claims, and, notably, the court’s pretrial order specifically lists the curriculum in the two schools as a ‘disputed fact[].’

Since the issue of ‘excessive entanglement’ based on the curriculum at the schools is a question of fact, and PLANS offers no citations to the record, PLANS’s argument is insufficient on its face.”

Motion For Summary Judgement Denied
– Case To Go To Trial

The denial of the Motion for Summary Judgement means that the case will go to trial. The earliest pre-trial hearing date has been set for January 2005.


PLANS is organized for the purpose, among other things, of “educating the public regarding Waldorf education.” PLANS has been a long-time critic of Waldorf education and anthroposophy.

About Waldorf education, the Court wrote the following: “Waldorf education involves alternative teaching methods, including the integration of the arts into all subjects, so as to creatively teach children the substantive concepts. Students begin each day with a two-hour main lesson, learning subjects in intensive three to four week blocks.

Storytelling, reading of myths and legends, learning handcrafts, cooking, gardening, painting, music, and movement are also part of the Waldorf method. Another characteristic of Waldorf education is that the same teacher progresses through each grade with his or her class through the eighth grade. Currently there are more than 60,000 children in more than 700 Waldorf schools throughout the world.”

About anthroposophy the Court said: “Austrian-born Rudolf Steiner developed the Waldorf system of education in 1919 when he founded a school in Germany for the children of the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory workers. Before he founded the Waldorf method of education, Steiner formulated a ‘spiritual science’ known as ‘anthroposophy.’ Literally translated from the Greek origin, ‘anthroposophy’ means ‘knowledge of the human being.’”

Jean W. Yeager

Administrative Director
The Anthroposophical Society in America
1923 Geddes Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48104
TEL (734) 662-9355  FAX (734) 662-1727

Go to full documentary page on the lawsuit

return to top