View Full Version : Schoolastic and PBS Negative Portrayal of Homeschooler.

02-16-2007, 09:43 PM
Searched Snopes and found nothing on this.....


If you haven't seen any of the one minute WordGirl shorts throughout the PBS KIDS GO! weekday programming or the two minute WordGirl
episodes which air after the very popular Maya & Miguel show on your local PBS station, please take a moment to visit the PBS KIDS website to view the negative portrayal of home schooled students
that is being espoused in this programming. The link to the website is:

http://pbskids. org/wordgirl/ (http://pbskids.org/wordgirl/)

Click on the left side "Heroes, Villains & Mere Mortals" then select the character "Tobey". Here's the character description from the website:

"Tobey is a 10-year-old home schooled genius who causes serious property damage in order to get WordGirl's attention, not that he'd ever admit it. He's a master of robotics, building giant robots to do his bidding. He's constantly trying to prove that he is
WordGirl's intellectual superior, and that he isn't afraid of his mommy."

In one episode, there is a comment about Tobey that "he's so timid that he has a hard time making friends." In the same episode, Tobey also acts very rude and destructive. You can see this episode and others (they are all only a minute or so long) by going to the same website link above and clicking on "Adventures of WordGirl" on the left side of the webpage, and then when the "Choose a Character" screen comes up, select "Tobey" and then click on the first picture
under "Choose an Episode" at the bottom of the screen (it's the one with the robot picture).

Scholastic's choice to portray this intelligent, yet socially inept and deviant character as a home schooled student is a glaring attack on home schooling and educational choice. Scholastic would not have
dared to portray this character as a racial minority or as a homosexual, yet they feel at liberty to attack home schooled students and indirectly their parents who they imply are making social misfits out of their children by teaching them at home. This programming is seen by thousands of children every day and is a
means of influencing their attitudes toward home schooled students. As the saying goes, "If you say it loud enough and long enough, the people will believe it." There is no evidence to support the socialization concern in regards to home schooled students, yet the
educational establishment continues with this propaganda.

Even if your children do not watch PBS, please contact Scholastic Media (the creators of the WordGirl cartoon) and Scholastic Corporation (the owner of Scholastic Media) and let them know your feelings about their choice to portray this socially deviant "villain" as a home schooled student. We need to stop the continued insinuations by the educational establishment that home schooling results in a lack of social aptitude. Insist that Scholastic Media stop making episodes with Tobey and also mention that you will not be purchasing any more of Scholastic's educational books or products until you see that they have removed this character from the WordGirl episodes.

In addition, please contact your local PBS station and ask that they stop airing the WordGirl episodes that involve Tobey and remove them from their website. Emphasize that the portrayal of Tobey as a socially deviant home schooled student is a direct attack on home schooled students and their families. If you happen to be a financial supporter of your local PBS station, make sure to mention this fact to them and tell them that you cannot support a station that airs such programming.

To find your local PBS station contact information, go to: http://www.pbs. org/stationfinde r/index.html (http://www.pbs.org/stationfinder/index.html)

To contact Scholastic Media, write, fax, or call:

Deborah A. Forte
President, Scholastic Media
557 Broadway
New York, New York 10012
Direct line: 212-343-7880
FAX: 212-343-6766

To contact Scholastic Corporation' s President, write, fax, or call: Richard Robinson Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer
Scholastic Corporation
557 Broadway
New York, NY 10012
Direct line: 212-343-6705
FAX: 212-343-6766


02-17-2007, 09:22 AM
I went to the site it says he is a 10 year old genius but says nothing about homeschooled. I wonder if they say that on the real program or maybe they got so much complaints about it they took the word "Homeschooled" out??


02-17-2007, 11:15 AM
I couldn't find it on the site. I don't watch the show, But my homeschool group, who originally posted this, says it is from a "Short" that is played at the end of the Maya and Miguel show. I could not find any reference to it on the website, which is why I went to snopes to see if this is a hoax. I couldn't find anything, so I am hoping that if someone here is familiar with the show can shed some light on this subject.


02-17-2007, 11:46 AM
PBS took down the bit about Tobey being homeschooled.

Their official statement:

"...we are currently revising the Word Girl website and have
adjusted the "Tobey" character. We'd like to assure you that, moving
forward, he will no longer be home-schooled and his specific academic
status will not be mentioned. Since 1920, Scholastic has built a
longstanding relationship as the most trusted name in learning. A
leader in the education marketplace, the company maintains this trust
by respecting and responding to the needs of all teachers, parents,
and children."

02-17-2007, 11:47 AM
Well I never watched it but this is on the site about Tobey.. (under about the program)
Tobey is a 10-year-old home schooled genius who causes serious property damage in order to get WordGirl’s attention, not that he’d ever admit it. He’s a master of robotics, building giant robots to do his bidding. He’s constantly trying to prove that he is WordGirl’s intellectual superior, and that he isn’t afraid of his mommy.

02-17-2007, 01:55 PM

Thank you!

02-17-2007, 02:37 PM
Another PBS show called ZOOM mentioned homeschooling once too and it wasn't good. The kids were saying that they wouldn't want to be hs because they wouldn't have any friends. My dd10 saw that episode and was upset that they said things like that because it wasn't true. I just told her that people who dont know anything about hs'ing have some serious misconceptions.

Jen you are so right - PBS would never belittle a minority, homosexual or person with a handicap that way. Why they thin kit is okay to portray hs'ers in a negative light is beyond me. I have actually seen the little clips at the end of Maya and Miguel but never really paid any attention to them - I will from now on.

02-17-2007, 03:32 PM
Doesn't it count for anything that they call him a genius?

I've never seen this cartoon. Are these things he's really doing or is he daydreaming because of this girl?