Corporal Punishment in American Education: Readings in History, Practice, and Alternatives

By Irwin A. Hyman; James H. Wise | Go to book overview
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PART VI
SURVEYS AND OPINION

This section presents two formal surveys and three opinions regarding the use of corporal punishment in the schools.

"A Survey of Attitudes toward Corporal Punishment in Pennsylvania Schools" by Reardon and Reynolds represents one of the most extensive and adequate examples of survey research yet discovered in the literature on corporal punishment. Reardon and Reynolds conducted the survey for the State Board of Education and collected some interesting figures indicating attitudes of various groups toward the use of corporal punishment in the schools. Their findings of 70 and 80 percent agreement among different groups of adults for the use of corporal punishment reflect data gathered by others and suggest that our society is well entrenched in its belief that corporal punishment is an effective means of discipline.

Following the Supreme Court decision on Ingraham v. Wright, there was a several-week period which witnessed the publication of many editorials around the country. Through the use of a press-clipping service, McDowell and Friedman conducted a regional analysis of the opinions expressed by the writers. The results are interesting but not surprising and further support the contention that conservative political and religious beliefs encourage the use of physical force against children.

The next two essays by Skinner and Friedman offer contrasting views concerning the effects of corporal punishment. Interestingly, Skinner has been misquoted as believing in the use of corporal punishment whereas it is clear that he has always proposed the use of reward rather than punishment. Friedman, a prominent pediatrician, describes some of the physiological consequences of the use of corporal punishment.

The final essay by Reinholtz represents the only pro corporal punishment chapter in this book. While critics might suggest that this evidences an unfair balance of presentation, an examination of the arguments in support of corporal punishment reveals them to be extremely limited and lacking in supportive objective data. Further, the arguments most often based

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Corporal Punishment in American Education: Readings in History, Practice, and Alternatives
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