Gingrich: Put Poor Kids to Work Cleaning Schools


Written by Mike Hall, AFL-CIO

Even for Newt Gingrich, this is bizarre.

The Republican presidential candidate says child labor laws are “stupid.” But that’s just the start. He says schools should “get rid of unionized janitors” and hire low-income kids to clean the schools. He also says that age nine is a good time to get a job.


Gingrich was speaking at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government last week when he suggested that putting scrub brushes and floor sanders in the hands of kids and firing school maintenance workers would “lift up the poorest neighborhoods.”

In fact, he says poor kids and their parents should look at the lives of successful people, “they all started their first job between nine and 14 years of age.”

He says child labor laws “entrap poor children into poverty.” Of course most of us know that child labor laws prevent kids from getting trapped on assembly lines or by moving machine parts.

This post was originally published on the AFL-CIO’s blog.


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Photo from Gage Skidmore via flickr


Gina C.
Gina Caracci3 years ago

I heard this on the news again the other day and had to come back and make another comment. Kids are supposed to be in school learning..then when they go home, they should do their homework and then play and be kids.
I always worked as a child..babysat, paper route, etc, but I wasnt forced too either. I chose to because my parents didnt give me anything other than what I needed so I wanted to EARN it.
Kids while in school SHOULD be kept to a higher standard and should clean up after themselves, have respect for themselves and others property.
Gingrich is like the rest of them WAY out of touch..that he doesnt know what child labor laws are about shows he doesnt belong in the position hes in

Frances Darcy
Frances Darcy3 years ago

I agree with Nicole B. Teaching children to clean up after themselves is not child labour but educational. However,what he is advocating is shocking.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.3 years ago

Is the US aping India or some other Third World country?

LMj Sunshine


LMj Sunshine


LMj Sunshine


LMj Sunshine


LMj Sunshine


Nicole Bergeron
Nicole Bergeron4 years ago

In Japan high school and middle high school kids are supposed to clean the schools, mainly the class rooms, but it is not to save money it is to show how much work goes into caring for the school and makes them want to NOT have it vandalized, and it works 90% of the time, they also take turns cleaning the class rooms. They still have janitors over there for the things that the students cannot do by law.
A little hard work to build pride in your school is one thing but what the troll is saying is a WHOLE other thing.

Sophia M.
Sophia M.4 years ago

And he calls child labor laws stupid. >:(