« School Districts Fear Slashed Budgets After Supercommittee Fails | Main | Seven States to Compete in Race to the Top's Latest Round »

Gingrich: Changing Child Labor Laws Would Improve Schools

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, now a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has risen fast in the polls lately.

So how does he want to address the problems of poor students stuck in underperforming schools? At least, in part, by changing child labor laws.

Campaign 2012In a speech at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Gingrich said that society is "crippling [disdvantaged kids] by putting them in schools that fail. [This] has done more to create income inequality in the United States than any other single policy."

His solution: Overhaul child labor laws which are "truly stupid. We say to someone, you shouldn't go to work before you're what, 14, 16 years of age? Fine. You're totally poor. You're in a school that's failing, with a teacher that's failing. I tried for years to have a very simple model. Most of these schools oughta get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor, and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work. They would have cash. They'd have pride in the schools. They'd begin the process of rising. ... Get any job that teaches you to show up on Monday."

Questions abound: Is having students do janitorial work—before they turn 14— the best way to improve foundering schools? Could students really handle being near so many cleaning products? What about those mop and soap fights in the hallway?

Gingrich clarified his comments to the Washington Post, saying, "I'm not suggesting that they drop out of school and become janitors, I'm talking about working 20 hours a week and being empowered to succeed."

That begs another question: Do the high school teachers out there think their kids would be able to balance 20 hours of work with school?

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login | Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments

  • YARGI YAYINLARI: I¡¦m now not sure where you are getting your info, read more
  • stop smoking: you have an incredible blog here! would you wish to read more
  • web hosting: Campaign K-12: 'Only Bill Richardson Has a Bold Plan for read more
  • kpss: What is Taking place i am new to this, I read more
  • domy RzeszĂłw: Iˇ¦ve recently started a website, the information you offer on read more