Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education


International & Multicultural Education EdD


Schooling has often provided possibilities for the practice of freedom with respect to the education of African-American children but has, at the same time, represented a threat to their system of survival. Hale (cited in Hale-Benson, 1990) believes that what is needed is an education that provides cultural continuity - not intervention. The challenge is to provide an effective education - one that can "conceptualize Black children within the context of their culture" (p. 210).

The literature review that follows provides the foundation for the argument that a model already exists that is emancipatory in its original design, that identifies social renewal as its primary goal, and which fulfills the criterion for an effective education for Black children. There are several questions to be asked. What are the areas of curricular correspondence between the models presented by Hale (cited in Hale-Benson, 1990) and the Waldorf approach? How does the philosophical and pedagogical structure of Waldorf education provide the continuity needed for African-American students in the 1990s? What theoretical considerations are necessary for implementing Waldorf education in the Milwaukee inner-city school setting? What are the implications for educating Black children toward an emancipatory consciousness, and of supporting their teachers to education toward the practice of freedom? What barriers to realizing the promise of these ideas can be anticipated and what responses might be expected?

The Urban Waldorf School represents a bold experiment on many levels - for Milwaukee and public school innovation efforts, for Waldorf education in the United States, and for the communities of disempowered voices. For all of these agencies, the challenge is to seize an opportunity to choose freedom. This case study documents the process of choosing and creating opportunities for freedom at this pivotal moment in the life of this new school and its innovative processes. This journey expresses an archetype of epic struggle and a mood of mythic tragedy. But Campbell (1949) reminds us that, though the outcome is unknown - and will never be known since the end represents a new beginning - the process confirms the role of the subject - actor as the creator of reality, of the world through his or her lived experiences, and the freedom to make choices. "...wherever the mythological mood prevails, tragedy is impossible. A quality of dream prevails. True being, meanwhile, is not in the shapes but in the dreamer" (p. 270).

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