Over the weekend, conservative bloggers and home school bloggers were abuzz about a recent story-writing contest being sponsored Subway. The kids who enter can win athletic equipment, gift baskets, or sandwich shop cash cards. The child with the winning entry will have $5,000 worth of athletic equipment donated to his/her school.

So what’s the problem? Take a look at the rules, which specifically single out home schooled children as ineligible:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Contest is open only to legal residents of the Untied (sic) States who are currently over the age of 18 and have children who attend elementary, private or parochial schools that serve grades PreK-6. No home schools will be accepted.

Yikes. Subway, what were you thinking? Not only did you misspell the word “United”, you also managed to deliberately mention that home schools kids stories will not be accepted. Well played.  Don’t you have copy editors who might have seen this as a problem?

The contest is being run by an academic company called Scholastic. One parent wrote a letter complaining about the discrimination, and received back a letter from Scholastic apologizing for the nature of the contest and pledging to make future promotions open to everyone.

4 Responses

  1. Ryan

    Really, who cares? They should be able to exclude whoever they want from their contest.

    It’s like saying that a random drawing requiring the people entering to be 18, a scholarship exclusively for African-Americans, or a company who runs a promotion where only members of their “club” are eligible are all discriminating against everyone else.

    What has this world come to? Companies trying to do a good thing should be able to put whatever terms they want into effect. Ohh.. and even if Subway removed the rule, would it be fair to give the “teacher” (parent) of the homeschooled kid five grand? Yeah, i’m sure they’d ramp up the athletic program they have going with that.

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  2. Um, yeah, but....

    Scholastic has a right to determine who is eligible for their contest, you’re correct about that, but they could have, and should have come up with a contest that all school age children can participate in, and offered individual awards, instead of wanting only schools to participate. There is a perception out there that home schooled children are just being educated by themselves, and that their parents are doing so because they belong to some fringe element or another. Where I live, home schooled children belong to a co-op. They are required to use the local school system’s materials, and they all get together as a class a couple of times a week, with the different parents taking turns teaching classes to the whole group according to what their special skills are. If Scholastic can make an award to an entire class based on the work of one child, they can also make an award to the entire local home school coop on the effort of one child, it’s the same thing. Being home schooled doesn’t exempt a student from gym classes or other sports requirements, either. If Scholastic wanted to make an award to a school sports program, they could also have done so by sponsoring the sports teams or athletic classes used by the local home school co-op or association. The bottom line is this, home school families eat subs, and they use Scholastic books in their curriculum, and excluding them like that has done neither company any favors. Scholastic should have come up with a more even handed approach…

    Reply
  3. Darlene

    I’m pretty sure the whole idea behind not accepting home schools is so when Timmy Smith wins he can’t SAY he’s homeschooled and keep all the loot for himself.

    Reply

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