Thursday, February 02, 2006

#229 - Oprah the Excluder?

There's a bit of a brouhaha surrounding Oprah Winfrey's essay contest for high schoolers which ends on Monday, February 6th. Specifically, there's a significant population of high school students that appear to be excluded from participation in this contest.

Now, I'm no Oprah fan. Never have been, really. I think all this eponymous empire building is just silly. Trump, although a brilliant business tycoon, is more of a caricature and P. T. Barnum showman than a dynamic leader of the corporate world. So, too, is Oprah more of a pop cultural icon than she is a mover-and-shaker of idealisms that shake the world.

Yet, I'm still puzzled by this apparent exclusion. The rules quite specifically state that participation in this essay contest is limited to legal citizens (no argument there!) who are "currently enrolled full-time (and in good standing) in a public or state-accredited private or parochial school, grades 9-12." Which would seemingly indicate that homeschooled high schoolers are students non grata.

The Home School Legal Defense Association issued an open letter a few days ago castigating La Winfrey for this egregious error. As I have skimmed the few blogs that even have this issue on their radars, I note that there is conflicting information as to the intent of the rule. At least one commenter indicated that they'd been informed that the contest was really open to "all high school students." Yet the HSLDA states that they were "rebuffed" when they asked for a change in the wording of the rule to allow homeschoolers to participate.

True to political form, the United States of Oprah seem to suffer from an overlarge bureaucracy.

I hope this was an unintentional slight. I won't, however, hold my breath worrying about it.

'Sides... the Woodyettes are still in elementary school. What's the rush?

(H/T: The ever-incredible Mrs. Woody!)

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