Leaving aside the other problems he has with this week's Gadfly, commenter John Rim is exasperated by Checker's use of the word "kids" to describe America's school-going population:
You are in an elite group, together with Checker cabs and Chubby Checker.
You are also in another elite, those who prefer the word "kids" to students, pupils and the like. I counted four mentions of kids. Two in the same sentence.
Students ? No mention. Pupils ? No mention.
Do kids happen when goats mate?
"Kids" is more apt to be used when writing about poverty, disabilities--even tobacco smoking. ( Tobacco Kids )
Condescension, loud and clear.
Ignorant as I was of the symbolic significance of Checker cabs and Chubby Checker, perhaps my views on diction shouldn't be trusted, but I myself never hesitate to write "kids," especially when I've used up all the available synonyms, a point one arrives at frequently when writing about education policy. Nor, a quick scan reveals, do reporters for major newspapers:
When high concentrations of poor kids went to school together, Coleman reported,...