Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Response to Why Can’t We All Get a Lunch

We sent the following to Seacoast Online for publication in response to the article that follows our rebuttal. Since our rebuttal was not published we are posting our rebuttal here.

Ms. Robertson’s May 27th opinion piece was so critically lacking in accurate information that I wondered whether to respond. Facts could easily have been checked if she just Googled our names, Jim and Cathy Peschke. Our phone number is also listed on our BLOG A few minutes of basic research might have prevented publishing her deluge of falsehoods.

Jim and I are from Croydon, New Hampshire not Boston. We never stated that Subway was being unfair, nor did we ever wish to enter our child in their contest. We said that Subway said no to homeschoolers. They specifically singled out homeschoolers. This was not an act of absent-minded omission; they did not merely include public, private and parochial schools. Subway explicitly singled out homeschoolers for non-participation.

This exclusion arose from concerns about the grand prize, concerns based on a fundamentally flawed stereotype of homeschoolers. Many homeschoolers participate in public and parochial school sports. We meet bi-monthly with a group of homeschoolers for recreational activities who could use this equipment. Subway could have simply mandated this as part of their contest terms, preventing Ms. Robertson from suggesting in her angry polemic that some of us would hoard the grand prize.

Yes the constant is legal. But we also believe in capitalism, free speech and the will of the market force. Homeschoolers are under frequent attack and don't need anything to further reduce our status in society, even from a fast food chain. Neither my husband nor I believe this was a malevolent act, but it has the same effect.

She and many others fail to realize is that the boycott has accomplished three major goals: 1) Change Scholastic's and Subway's policy for "next time". 2) Made blue suits all over corporate America think twice about failing to give homeschoolers their due. 3) Brought the issue of homeschooling into the national spotlight.

When one thinks of these effects, it is pretty tough to conclude that the controversy wasn't a worthy act.

Ms. Robertson final gaffe claims that our 3 year old cannot read or write. She has been reading and writing for a number of months now. Apparently homeschooling works better than she ever imagined.

Cathy Peschke
Citizens for Reasonable And Fair Taxes

The following piece appeared on Seacost Online.

Why Can’t We All Get a Lunch

By Lily Robertson
May 27, 2008 8:01 AM

Mr. and Mrs. Peschke of Boston are up in arms because their toddler and their three year old are not eligible to try for $5,000.00 worth of athletic equipment. You see, their children are home-schooled, and Subway has excluded home schooled children from their contest.

During their interview on Fox and Friends this morning, and in between the shrieks from their youngest, they called for a boycott of Subway sandwiches because they believe the chain is being unfair. Well, life is unfair, and perhaps this could be somehow worked into their home school lesson plan. (Every Sandwich Tells a Story Contest)

What on earth would these two do with that much money’s worth of athletic equipment to begin with? Their children are too young for any school sport. The competitive ones are right out. What? Are you going to tell me that they’re going to need all that equipment for a pick up game of baseball with the neighbor’s dog? Maybe they think it would be a good idea for their children to swim laps in a new backyard pool. A healthy pastime? You betcha! It’s never too soon to start training for the Olympics. If they’re careful with the cash, they could even hire a private swimming coach. (Oh, pool boy! Bring young Miss Peschke another set of water wings and I’d like a fresh margarita.)

As far as non-competitive sports, I really don’t think they’re going to set up their three year old with a compound bow to teach her archery. At least, I’d certainly hope not. Kids are dangerous enough with their unreasoning penchants for doing things like putting peanut butter sandwiches into the DVD player.

To be fair, Mr. Peschke said there was no reason why they couldn’t donate the equipment to a local school or recreation center. I also noted, however, that he didn’t say he would. I could donate hours of my time to eradicating the occurrences of two-headed Elvis babies in southern tabloids, but it’s not likely. Besides, it would put both the tabloids and Jerry Springer out of business. Would that be very nice of me? I think not.

One of the Peschke’s greatest obstacles is that the contest is actually, perfectly legal. As long as Subway doesn’t exclude children from the contest on the basis of race, religion, or gender issues, it’s their bloody contest and they can legally exclude anyone with more than three freckles if that’s where their whim takes them.

Mr. Peschke also pointed out the amount of spelling errors on the Subway contest form. Maybe the Subway people shouldn’t have held the competition in the first place. Perhaps they should have pumped the funds into getting English tutors for their ad department.

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but a competition is generally something held between more than one group. Home schooled kids are hardly in a competitive arena to begin with, theoretically. Well, there may be home schooled kids who have to compete with the family pet for supper, but I suspect that would be a mighty low percentage. These kids can’t even be graded on a curve. So, the answer in the mind of the Peschkes is to have their children, who aren’t even old enough to read and write, enter a competition against other children they can’t see? So they can win athletic equipment they can’t use?

At the end of it all, I suppose they’ll just take their baseball and go home. Oh wait…they’re already there!

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