Thursday, March 10, 2005

History Channel Rejects Homeschooler's Contest Entry

UPDATE: Contest rules have been changed to include all 9-12 grade homeschoolers.
A homeschooler in Texas recently entered the following contest sponsored by The History Channel:

FDR Scholarship Challenge Coming Soon! Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated much of his presidency to better education, and The History Channel® is showing its dedication to schools as well with The FDR: A Presidency Revealed Scholarship Challenge. We are offering high school students the opportunity to compete for $9,500 in scholarship prizes by writing an essay based on The History Channel documentary special, FDR- A Presidency Revealed, airing April 17th at 9PM/8c. Additional prizes will also be rewarded to the schools of the winning students, including a History Channel "Select Titles" video library!

To participate in this exciting opportunity, email your school name, your full name, address (no P.O. Boxes) and phone number to kbell@gemgroup no later than March 11, 2005. The website is

She received this reply:

Thank you for your interest in The History Channel(r) FDR- A Presidency Revealed Scholarship Challenge. Unfortunately, home schooled students are not eligible for the challenge, per the official rules. The rules state that "the Challenge is open to High Schools Students, grades 9 - 12, who are legal residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia, and are currently enrolled in a High School located in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia at the time of Entry."

Should you have further questions please contact us or call 917.256.0768. Again, The History Channel would like to thank you for your interest in this program and don't forget watch the premiere of the two-part documentary special, FDR- A Presidency Revealed Sunday, April 17th 9PM/8C.

Your Friends at The History Channel,
Kim Bell

The mother replied that "according to Texas law a homeschool can operate as a private school and since the rules didn't say 'only public or accredited private schools' my daughter should be allowed to enter." Furthermore, the official rules (including the excerpt that Ms. Bell cited in her reply) does not address homeschoolers specifically.

Is this exclusion Ms. Bell's misguided opinion? Is The History Channel discriminating against homeschoolers? Are they just afraid a bunch of homeschoolers are going to show up and kick some historical ass (ok, now I'm just trying to start something...)? I encourage you to email them and ask them yourself. I'm sure they'd love to know how many of us use The History Channel programs and materials to teach our children.

The History Channel is owned by A&E Networks which is owned by a jointventure of Hearst Publications, ABC and NBC. The President of A&ENetworks is Nick Davatzes. A&E has a consumer feedback address at Their snail mail address is:

A&E Television Networks
235 East 45th Street
New York, NY 10017

It has been noted by several that the phone number provided in Kim Bell's reply does not work. Other helpful sites for feedback:

One homeschool mom summed it up like this:

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I have a list of ten homeschooled presidents, and Franklin D. Roosevelt is down here as "being taught at home by his parents." Isn't it ironic that a contest about a homeschooled President is excluding homeschoolers?!

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