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Minority representation in Waldorf – Part 4

Why is minority representation in the Waldorf movement is so low?

So far I have focused mostly on the question of enrollment. The final factor is doubtless faculty. It would seem obvious that a Waldorf school with strong minority representation on the faculty will tend to attract more minority students, though in reality that would be a point for further research. A nearly all-white faculty as exists in most Waldorf schools today might act as a deterrent for minority families when they consider enrolling their children.

So how can Waldorf schools increase minority representation on the faculty? Here again a look at the larger culture is important, since there are plenty of organizations that say they want to increase the number of minorities that they employ. There is a large body of research on racial biases in hiring, and I would argue that a lot of that applies to Waldorf schools as well. First off there’s a very small applicant pool to begin with. The formal requirements to be a Waldorf teacher include at least a bachelors degree (and often a Masters degree to teach high school) and Waldorf training. Since our society is so biased against minorities to begin with, statistically a much smaller percentage of the minority population completes college. So arguably requiring a college degree puts an extra barrier in front of minority applicants. Likewise the Waldorf training requirement can be construed as bias against minorities in the hiring process. Waldorf training is expensive and time-consuming, and there is not much scholarship money available. Since minorities in our society are statistically more likely to be socioeconomically disadvantaged, they are therefore also less likely to have the money and the time to be able to undertake a formal Waldorf teacher training. But even if minorities are able to meet the hiring requirements, there is always the hiring process itself. I will look at that and then make suggestions for change tomorrow.

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