Subway's discrimination

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I'm jumping this post because it's about homeschooling and I sort of lose my mind in it a bit, which is what I tend to do when I'm very passionate about a subject. If reading me discussing "issues" evokes a feeling within you similar to walking in on your parents doing the nasty, then seriously, don't follow the jump. I have to get this off my chest, though.

I browsed around online for a bit before deciding whether or not to write about the Subway Sandwich and Scholastic discrimination against homeschoolers.

I'm pretty mad about the entire situation, especially as I know many homeschoolers who purchase Scholastic products and our group participates in the Book It! program; also because the press release Subway sent out regarding the contest and the homeschooling exclusion was fraught with spelling errors.

A couple months ago I received an email from a PR firm which said that they read my website and is there anyway I would mention a contest for teachers sponsored by Land's End? I asked if the contest was open to homeschool teachers. No, they said, sorry! But am I still interested in writing about it?

Excuse me? Are you high? I'm a homeschooler and you want me to pimp a contest that specifically excludes homeschoolers?

The excuses I hear justifying these discriminatory moves stem from total ignorance and I'm sorry, I can't excuse ignorance anymore, not in this age of instant information. I'd be more forgiving if the people with the least amount of knowledge on the subject weren't always the quickest and loudest to speak.

Myth #1: Homeschoolers are isolationists
The Land's End lady told me that "regular" teachers would spend the money on their classrooms and schools. Subway is taking a similar approach in saying that their contest winnings would go towards athletic equipment for a large group of children. You know, because homeschoolers hole up in shacks in the Appalachians charmin snakes all day so we's a purdy unsocialized bunch. We ain't got no use fer organization. I guess only state-educated kids use athletic equipment. Maybe they're afraid that homeschoolers will dominate the contest, like in the spelling bees.

It's funny; when I first began homeschooling I wanted to join a homeschool group. The problem was that there were so many groups to choose from - large groups of hundreds and hundreds of families, not just three or four people. The group that I joined is the size of a school, literally.

There are homeschool groups in every city. Nearly every single group has organized sports teams, bands, drama groups, choir, etc. My group, one of many, holds Spanish, calculus, etc. classes taught by teachers who either retired from the profession or who stayed home after becoming a parent; or experts in the field. Most groups are non-profit organizations. Most have a facility which serves as a home base. The only difference between homeschool groups and state schools is that in homeschool groups, the parents are the teachers and principals. The group leader(s) is(are) the superintendent(s)-of-sorts.

Myth #2: Helping state-educated kids is more effective than home-educated kids
Says who? Subway, Scholastic, and Land's End might want to tread lightly around such an assumption as it could be construed as saying that homeschooled kids' educational and other needs are better met at home rather than at school. As I've said before, homeschooling isn't for everyone and this assumption is another broad premise. Because homeschool groups are quite large, there is the opportunity to reach the same amount of students.

At the very least, Subway and Scholastic should invited homeschoolers to participate and select a school which to donate. The equipment could have gone to an area athletic association, a church, or even a homeschool group - is that seriously so bad?

I read this on a board discussing the controversy: "I just don't think we, homeschoolers as a group, are entitled to everything public schools are entitled to."
So long as I pay taxes to state schools and have school-age children I am entitled.

Subway recently sent an apologetic email to a homeschooling mom, posted here. The American Family Association, which gets its dander up over everything from scarves to cars was all, "Oh, they apologized! Yeay! Game over!" Sorry, I don't buy it. Subway essentially placed its apology on credit - in this case I believe an apology without action is empty - and said that while homeschoolers are still excluded from this contest, they'll remember to keep it open to all in the future. How nice. Um, no thanks. I'll continue to eat at Quiznos instead and look for resources other than anything by Scholastic.

(I feel bad for some of the franchise owners who were roped into this, but I personally can't support the company after this debacle.)

All of this - along with California's recent socialist move against home education and Missouri's discussion of legislation which would allow school districts to assume a parent's rights in deciding whether or not their children can drive - has all but convinced me that the goal is about control and not about academic excellence. There. I said it. Crucify if you will, but it's what I honestly believe.

Liam starts second grade this fall. Ewan will inherit his brother's pre-k curriculum. I feel like my homeschool experience is only ankle-deep and yet I still see obstacles: discrimination manifest as exclusion, people who make rude remarks; just the other day someone close to our family quipped "So you're STILL homeschooling? Do those kids actually learn anything?" I resisted the urge to knock her horse veneers down her throat and cram the numerous academic studies up her brown eye.

People wonder why homeschoolers have such big mouths and raise a ruckus when appropriate. They have to! Were the tables turned and the same rude attitude applied to state schools all hell would break loose. There's a double-standard. I don't want adults to discriminate against my children or anyone else's because of their own personal prejudices. ANY CHILDREN. PERIOD.




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