Sunday, May 25, 2008

Taking the Subway

No, this is not about Free-Range Children; this is about the recent homeschool community furor over the Subway contest Every Sandwich Tells a Story.

Here’s how to anger a lot of people:

Contest is open only to legal US residents, over the age of 18 with children in either elementary, private or parochial schools that serve grades PreK-6. No home schools will be accepted.

My take on this is Who Cares? Why are some people who homeschool so angry about their children being purposefully excluded from a corporate promotion giving away some stuff in an attempt to gain some publicity? Why do some people who homeschool demand being in league with the institutionalized education? Why do some people who homeschool think that the homeschooling community as I so freely place all people who homeschool their children under that single umbrella would operate as a cohesive conglomerate any more than atheists would.

There is no central tenet to which homeschoolers attribute their practices. There is no core grouping of homeschoolers. There is no compelling reason any person or company must recognize individuals when their contest is for members of a certain group. Homeschooling children do not have the kind of government oversight that children who are eligible to participate do, and perhaps this is the matter: lack of state accountability and control.

The real question in my mind is why would Subway and Scholastic, the contest’s other sponsor, need to explicitly exclude homeschoolers? Whatever the reason, I take it as a sign of recognition that homeschooling is a viable alternative to institutionalized schooling – and that’s a good thing.


Burgess Laughlin said...

If I were a company sponsoring a contest for the (unannounced) purpose of gathering marketing information that would allow me to better sell to large educational institutions, I would exclude home schoolers too.

Could this be a motive?

LB said...

Yes, precisely. Perhaps Subway is trying to expand its operation as a viable school lunch vendor. I'm sure there is a lot of money to be made there.

Kim said...

Also, the prize is a lot of money or equipment. Sure, a homeschooler could use a lot of money or equipment, but I'm betting their larger purpose is to get the most bang for their prize amount buck and a lot of kids benefitting from the prize seems like a better "look at our good community practices" than "hey, we just gave a lot of money to two kids." I think homeschoolers just don't like to be thought of as less valid than public or private schools. They had a big impact though. Scholastic (a co-sponser of the contest) actually said they'd review their policies in the future.

jugglingpaynes said...

Who's angry? I find it somewhat amusing that they feel so threatened that a homeschooler might win, they chose to exclude them altogether!

LB said...

Some homeschoolers are really angry. I agree with you in that it is a good sign for homeschooling in general.

I feel so German when I run those words together (home + school), but really, shouldn't it be a word in its own right? I'll have to do some research on that subject.