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Word of Mouth

10.27.16: Corporal Punishment in Schools, Chasing Prestige, & Speaking American

Jeff Clark via Flickr CC

Parenting blogs are full of forums discussing "no touch" policies at school around the country. Today, much less discussed among the nanny state is the physical punishment that’s still happening in some public schools.

And then, in an effort to save public face, some universities have went all-in on chasing college rankings. While these lists don’t fully represent the college experience, the tangible, advertised results are invaluable to administrators.

Listen to the full show. 

Corporal Punishment in Public Schools

Momentum to abolish corporal punishment in schools started in the 1970s, and then stalled.  Now, its use is heavily concentrated in southern states. A new report from the Society for Research in Child Development found higher child mortality and poverty rates, less education spending per students, and lower graduation rates in districts where  corporal punishment permitted, and racial and gender discrimination in applying punishment. The findings again raise the question of whether it is time to finally retire the practice.

Elizabeth Gershoff is a developmental psychologist and faculty research associate at the University of Texas, Austin. She is co-author of the report on corporal punishment in US schools along with Sarah Font, assistant professor of sociology at Penn State.

Corporal Punishment in Public Schools

Chasing Prestige in Higher Ed

When James Barker took the helm in 2001, Clemson University was ranked 38th on the U.S. News and WorldReport rankings for public universities. President Barker had a resolute vision: to crack the top 20. John Warner was teaching there in the mid-aughts. He watched tuition go up, numbers of first-generation students go down, and an administration bent on hitting the right numbers as it clawed its way - briefly - into the magic circle. 

Warner’s article “What Colleges Lose When They Chase Prestige” originally appeared on Inside Higher Ed but has been passed around all over.

Chasing Prestige in Higher Ed

The Problem With "Sounding White"

Most people adjust their tone or inflection depending on the social situation they are in. Linguists call it "code switching," a term originally used for people who would switch between two different languages like Spanish and English. But the term has evolved to embrace the tone, accents, and inflections that we use when talking to people.  Leila Day from Crosscurrents brings us the story of finding her voice.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

Speaking American

What you say says a lot about your character - how you say it says a lot about where you call home.  If you lived you come from the northeast, you'd probably call the rubber-soled shoes you wear to workout, "sneakers,” whereas pretty much the rest of the country says "tennis shoes".  Then there's the grinder/hoagie/sub sandwich distinction ...or the soda versus pop versus tonic controversy.

Josh Katz is a graphics editor at the New York Times , where he posted an interactive dialect quiz that could pretty well determine where you're from in just a few dozen questions....like what you call your mother or father's sister. He’s now the author of Speaking American: How Y'all, Youse, and You Guys Talk, a visual guide to American dialect. 

Speaking American

Grey Poupon's Rise in Hip Hop

The famous 1981 commercial brought luxury, class and a memorable catch-phrase to Grey Poupon. A decade later, the bougie mustard found an unexpected audience - hip hop. Brooklyn-based Das EFX made what is likely the first Grey Poupon reference in hip-hop in 1992. And that was just the beginning. Estelle Caswell tracked just how often the condiment comes up in songs. She put together an interactive article and video for Vox showing just how much Grey Poupon has spread out in hip-hop.

Grey Poupon's Rise in Hip Hop