Monday, May 26, 2008

Our VERY Disappointed Child


Subway (sandwich shop) is having a contest called

EVERY SANDWICH TELLS A STORY.


I thought WHAT A DELIGHTFUL IDEA -- A CREATIVE WRITING CONTEST FOR YOUNG CHILDREN ! Cherub 3 was all set to enter; he had already begun his story. Needless to say he was VERY excited !!

However, when we read the ELIGIBILITY part of the rules list, we discovered that in order to enter this contest a child MUST be enrolled in an elementary, private, or parochial school. Hummmm .... (below is the EXACT rule quoted from the Subway website):

2. ELIGIBILITY. Contest is open only to legal residents of the United 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. Employees and members of their families of Scholastic and Subway, their parents, subsidiaries, and affiliates, and their advertising, promotion and production agencies are not eligible to enter. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.


The rule specifically states NO HOME SCHOOLS WILL BE ACCEPTED.

Cherub 3 will finish his story. He will just not be able to enter it in the contest.

How sad, to treat children in such a way. How awful to buden a child with DISCRIMINATION --- in this modern age, in a nation founded on FREEDOM. It is simply disgraceful !

I am left wondering exactly why home school students cannot enter ?? What is the reason for such a stipulation in the rules of a Creative Writing Contest for children ? Hummmmm. We have had a few conversations about this ....

Cherub 3 (who is VERY creative with his writing and had hoped to enter) shared his opinion about this rule .... nearing tears, he said, "I think they will not allow homeschoolers to enter because they are afraid to see that homeschooled children can not only write stories, but can actually write far better stories than children who sit at desks and read textbooks and do ruled assignments and formula writing hour after hour, day after day, grade after grade. I think most children eventually lose their creativity in school because there is no room for it to grow without boundaries and limitations. When they give you a sketch of an apple, it always has an instruction below it that says COLOR THE APPLE RED. Haven't they ever seen green apples ? Or yellow apples ? No - there is only one way to do everything in school. I am so glad I am not there. I know there are red, green, and yellow apples. And I can write a much better story now than I ever could have in a school. Too bad Subway is going to miss out on some truly great story because of their rule."

From the mouthes of babes ....... (I will admit that I am sad for him, but at the same time I am very proud of him !)

And to this, Cherub 6 (age 5yo) chimed in to support his big brother (who was very visibly upset) with BOCK BOCK BOCK (chicken immitation) while flapping his "wings". He also promised never to eat another Subway sandwich as long as he lives .... (HA !)

After years of eating Subway subs (esp during soccer and swim team seasons), we will not be visiting Subway again. There are plenty of resturants and sandwich shops that would LOVE our business.
** If this anti-homeschool-bias concerns you, please feel free to submit your concerns to Subway here: http://www.subway.com/Applications/CustService/frmCustomerService.aspx
*** You can also sign a petition online committing to a boycott of Subway here: http://www.petitiononline.com/home777/
UPDATE May 29:
Subway Apologizes

HSLDA is pleased to pass along the following apology from Subway restaurants.

To HSLDA:

We at SUBWAY restaurants place a high value on education, regardless of the setting, and have initiated a number of programs and promotions aimed at educating our youth in the areas of health and fitness.

We sincerely apologize to anyone who feels excluded by our current essay contest. Our intention was to provide an opportunity for traditional schools, many of which we know have trouble affording athletic equipment, to win equipment. Our intent was certainly not to exclude homeschooled children from the opportunity to win prizes and benefit from better access to fitness equipment.

To address the inadvertent limitation of our current contest and provide an opportunity for even more kids to improve their fitness, we will soon create an additional contest in which homeschooled students will be encouraged to participate. When the kids win, everyone wins!

—Subway Restaurants
This is a wonderful beginning, and a welcome change to the policy. Thank you HSLDA for speaking up with your wonderful Open Letter, and thank you Subway for responding.
And is anyone still wondering WHY this ever mattered ?? It was JUST a dumb contest, right ??
It mattered because homeschoolers were denied participation based on the idea that first prize was designed for a school -- and the most important words in that statement are WERE DENIED PARTICIPATION. It mattered because my son was denied the right to enter a contest for Creative Writing -- BECAUSE his parents have chosen to home school.
From the beginning, fresh thinking would have inspired ideas to resolve this issue for Subway (without the discrimination) -- research would have shown how other companies have handled these "prizes" in contests past. TA DA !! There were several options available to this resturant, rather than denying thousands of families the right to participate. And what matters in the end is that in a nation founded on freedoms, the rights of our children were denied them.
And it mattered because after many many years of the "veteran homeschoolers" fighting the battles to get us (homeschoolers & homeschooling) to this point, THIS company pointed out most clearly homeschooling is not to be placed on the same level as private, parochial, or public education.
THAT is why it mattered .... see, it was not the silly contest at all, but was rather the principle of it all that was so important.

4 comments:

Cathy said...

I got all fired up about this. I started posting it on my blog. We love Subway, aren't so fond of Scholastic, and based on a lot of other current events wouldn't be surprised at something like this happening.

I looked into this further. Go to http://www.subwayfreshbuzz.com/kids/ and click on the "Parents Link" and the "Enter Your Child's Story" link. The contest is then described. The grand prize is playground equipment for a school ($5000 worth) - that is why homeschools aren't eligible. Because it's a promotion to help a school have a real professional playground.

I think it's unfortunate they put that line in there denying eligibility to home schools without allowing them to receive 2nd prize or donate the playground to an accredited school of their choice. However, it doesn't seem overtly discriminatory.

MomToCherubs said...

It was not the silly contest nor the prizes at all which mattered. According to Cherub 3 (age 11 1/2yo) it was rather the principle of it all (being denied the right to participate based on being home schooled) that was so important. And I have to agree -- homeschoolers have fought battle after battle to obtain for all of us this RIGHT and FREEDOM to homeschool ... and it is corporate decisions like this one that nearly turn back time and undo bit by bit the veterans' hard work. Having small rights denied often leads to having bigger rights denied ... THAT is why this was so important, and why we must be ever vigilant.

Hope this helps explain my stand a bit better.

God Bless.
MomToCherubs

Anonymous said...

I have to say, for your sons being so young, they are wise beyond their years. After teaching in public schol here in MD for almost 4 years, I can atest to the fact that traditional education is failing our young people. If Subway were to allow homeschoolers of the same grade level and age to compete against children in traditional school settings, home schoolers would win hands down. While I do not understand Subway's reasoning for their exclusion, I don't think any explanation can justify any child's disqualification from a creative writing contest.
-Angela O.

Dee said...

Let Cherub post story here.