Raquel Benson is a Senior Contributor to TDA, a journalism student, humanist, and artist with issues of chronic imagination. She may be brash, but it stems from a deeper concern for the world around her.
Opinion – GOP presidential flavor of the week, Newt Gingrich called child labor laws “stupid” at a speech he gave just this Friday at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The former speaker of the House suggested that impoverished children should be able to work if their school system is “failing” – because stimulating the free market is more important than a bright future.
Gingrich said very matter-of-fact, “It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid[...]Most of these schools ought to 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 would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising. You’re going to see from me extraordinarily radical proposals to fundamentally change the culture of poverty in America.”
The Fair Labor Act allows minors who are at least 14 to work most jobs. In many cases there are even exceptions for children under that age. But with those working rights, there comes a reasonable stipulation-work hours are limited for minors under the age of sixteen-which Gingrich feels is SUCH a waste of cheap labor.
Implying that putting kids to work for longer should even be an option to children of poor families is more of an affront to their survival than anything. Realizing the immediate gratification of working more hours, children and teens would easily be allured into dropping school completely-especially if that were a viable option!
Impoverished children don’t need to be taken advantage of by their minimum-wage jobs. What they do need is a good education.
Read more at the Huffington Post.