The Bulletin

Reform, How? Students Discuss the State of Education Today

Waldorf Student Featured in WBEZ's “Student Stories”

Olivia Love-Hatlestad is a typical, spirited Waldorf student who attended the Da Vinci Waldorf School in Wauconda, IL through most of her adolescence including grade school, middle school and into her 9th grade year. Chicago's public radio station, WBEZ, invited students from all walks of life to share their impressions on the state of education. Olivia's essay was selected and highlighted recently in WBEZ's "Student Stories" on Education (in part because she had the valuable perspective of having attended both a Waldorf school and Public school and because she makes very eloquent points of comparison about schooling in the current state of education).

WBEZ followed up by inviting Olivia for a personal interview this past July asking her and Walter Payton High School student Troy Boccelli to discuss their experiences in High School. It provides great insight into Waldorf education.

Click here for the FULL PROFILE on WBEZ's web page and below read some excerpts from her interview with NPR reporter Becky Vevea.

>  Hear Olivia's full radio interview in her own words and then read her essay.


Excerpts from her interview and essay on Waldorf education:

“Every morning our teachers shook our hands and asked us how we were. They cared about us, and made the consistent effort to connect with and understand us. We not only learned the (what I now realize is invaluable) skill of engaging in conversation with an adult, but we developed deeply respectful relationships with our teachers. We were inspired to strive for excellence not by the pressure put on a grade, but by the desire to please these mentors to whom we looked up so earnestly."

“The [teachers] could tell if you were sick or if you were faking sick or if you needed help outside of class because they knew you and they actually cared about you. And then I entered public school, where, to know our last names, teachers had to check a roster.”

She talked a lot about giving students individual attention and really focusing on comprehension, rather than memorizing facts, something she thinks public schools focus far too much on.

“I retained, like, zero information, because what’s being given to us are packets and lists of names and dates that we have to memorize,” Love-Hatlestad said. “That’s in one ear and out the other. And sure I can retain it long enough to be assessed on it and since that’s all that matters, that’s fine. That’s been swept under the rug. The actual comprehension is kind of just a byproduct. It’s a bonus, like if you actually get it that’s great, but you don’t really have to.”

“There is study of other cultures in multiple classes, drawing parallels between them.  Religion is not pushed, but multiple religions are studied, so that students may better understand the world as a whole.There are a wide range of subjects, all required, so that each student can discover his/her passion, and pursue it. No one feels talentless or worthless, because differences are not only celebrated, they are nurtured."