I believe he’s gonna work me into the ground

Gnoot has a post up about his proposal to prepare kids from poor families for the low paying, menial jobs they will often be forced to take after leaving school by giving them low paying, menial jobs while they are at school.

Wouldn’t it be great if New York City schools served their students as well as they serve some of their custodians?

Students–especially those from very poor families–would be better served if they had the opportunity to earn money part-time at school by doing some of the tasks custodians are now performing so expensively.

Dozens of poor students could have part-time, paying jobs for the $100,000 a year New York schools pay some custodians. For that amount, more than 30 children could work just two hours each school day and each take home $3,000 a year by the time they are 12 or 13 years old.

Some of this work could be clerical; other tasks could be janitorial, such as cleaning the cafeteria, or emptying the trash, or vacuuming the classrooms. These are similar to the chores many parents require their kids to do at home, and it would allow 12- and 13- year olds to make money they desperately need. Giving children the opportunity to earn money would help teach work habits, and letting them do so in their schools would build a stronger commitment to that community.

Here’s the thing, Gnoot, you crap-filled, sociopathic blowhard.

I may be a fictional, sweary old lady who knows two fifths of fuck-all about poverty and the challenges facing inner city kids, or about how we could improve their financial position while increasing their self esteem and encouraging them to learn.

However, I’d be willing to bet quite a lot of money that the answer is not making them stay back after school to clean up other students’ shit for six bucks an hour.

Arsehole.

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153 replies
  1. 1
    jayjaybear says:

    Someone needs to send Newtie a copy of Maya Angelou’s “Graduation”. And maybe read it to him. Slowly, so he can keep up.

  2. 2
    Mnemosyne says:

    If Newtie is so very, very worried that the kids aren’t learning good work habits because their parents are unemployed, shouldn’t he be proposing that the jobs go to the parents?

    Oh, wait, that would require the schools to pay, like, minimum wage and benefits and shit instead of the slave wages you can give a 10-year-old. Never mind.

  3. 3
    Mark S. says:

    Some of this work could be clerical; other tasks could be janitorial, such as cleaning the cafeteria, or emptying the trash, or vacuuming the classrooms.

    Some of the work could be teaching. That would show those teacher union thugs, some of whom make more than $1 million a year.*

    * May or may not be accurate. We report, you decide.

    ETA: I did a bullet point? Ah, wordpress.

  4. 4
    Jamey: Bike Commuter of the Gods says:

    I think we’re being punked, SPaT.

    The premise seems positively Swiftian, really: Gnoot wants to cut another professional caste off at the knees (long-tenured, moderately high-wage, skilled employees in public service!? WHOEVERHEARDOFSUCHATHING!!!1!) by having a never-ending stream of children replace them in the cesspits.

    This is like Fagin in reverse! I offer a hearty golf-clap to Gnoot, who at the 11th hour sneaked in and sewed up 2011’s Presidential Medal of Trollery.

  5. 5
    RosiesDad says:

    I may be a fictional, sweary old lady who knows two fifths of fuck-all about poverty and the challenges facing inner city kids, or about how we could improve their financial position while increasing their self esteem and encouraging them to learn.

    However, I’d be willing to bet quite a lot of money that the answer is not making them stay back after school to clean up other students’ shit for six bucks an hour.

    I think you are too hard on yourself, dear. It is clear from your posts that you are far better grounded in reality than the fat fuck from Georgia K Street who is only interested in making more money to support his mistress’s wife’s Tiffany’s jones.

  6. 6
    double nickel says:

    Perhaps his remark was not intended to be a factual statement….seems to be a GOP disease these days : http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-25.....z1hhBPNXiI

  7. 7
    Gex says:

    Geez. I thought we maybe ought to be encouraging those kids to apply themselves to their studies. Isn’t SCHOOL supposed to be a kid’s job? I guess only for the right kind of kids.

  8. 8
    Phylllis says:

    So the kids aren’t learning a work ethic by observing the adults with those jobs at their school? And we should have more unemployed adults so the kids themselves can do the work? I would venture a guess the adults with those jobs are parents of kids in the school.

    Hey and way to devalue these honest, many times physically difficult jobs by saying any 5th grader can do them. Well, not any 5th grader; only the ‘poor’ ones.

  9. 9
    Denny says:

    I’d be willing to lay really good odds that you could at best count all of the NYC School janitors making over $100K per year on the fingers of one or two hands. And I’d lay further odds that the ones that you could find only got that by working a shit-load of overtime or some other way to increase their base salary.

  10. 10
    gbear says:

    …children could work just two hours each school day and each take home $3,000 a year by the time they are 12 or 13 years old.

    So how young do they have to start working to work their way up to those big bucks when they’re 12 or 13?

    Nine?

    I really can’t believe that a presidential contender (media’s eyes, not mine) could publish something like this. It’s unreal.

  11. 11

    Of course actual custodians handle building maintenance like furnaces and electrical lights and other things we dint want children in charge of; except in the magical world he proposes where everything like that just takes care of itself.

    However, I could see replacing Tea Party people in Congress with children, who would be more likely to listen when things are explained to them.

  12. 12
    ant says:

    how do rich kids develop work ethic?

  13. 13
    slag says:

    @RosiesDad:

    It is clear from your posts that you are far better grounded in reality than the fat fuck from Georgia K Street who is only interested in making more money to support his mistress’s wife’s Tiffany’s jones.

    Seriously. Maybe Newt should learn this lesson for himself and, instead of taking out a second credit line at Tiffany’s, pick peaches for a season. What better way to teach him the value of responsibility and hard work?

  14. 14
    slag says:

    @ant:

    how do rich kids develop work ethic?

    They don’t need to. Only kids with work ethic are born rich. Obviously.

  15. 15
    gbear says:

    @ant: By berating their inferiors?

  16. 16
    artem1s says:

    I have a hard time believing Noot would want to pay those kids $6 an hour. Surely a tip jar next to the mop bucket would be sufficient compensation?

  17. 17
    JPL says:

    @ant: Ask Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton cuz they know.

  18. 18

    A lot of parents have done a lot of things over the past century so that their kids wouldn’t have to be scullery maids during their Elementary School years.

    Sometimes, home schooling looks very good.

  19. 19
    j says:

    As well as firing the kids’ parents from their union jobs. I’m curious if Newticles can prove that “some” of the NYC “janitors” are making $100,000.00 per year, or if he just pulled that number out of his large ass. If he is talking about a union stationary engineer how, who needed years of specialized training in order to get that job, how is he going to expect a 9 year old kid to maintain steam boilers and other specialized AND DANGEROUS physical equipment? Or how about the guys who mix chemicals for the school pools? That takes specialized training too.

    He’s an ass.

  20. 20
    ruemara says:

    I think I officially hate this man.

  21. 21
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ant:

    how do rich kids develop work ethic?

    My dad had me work in his office for, like, four hours a day, one or two days a week in the summer (when I wasn’t taking summer school classes, that is). He paid me minimum wage and even took taxes out of my check, which is why my Social Security contributions go back to when I was about 11.

    But it was actually supposed to be, you know, a learning experience and a way to supplement my allowance, not a way for me to support the family like Newtie is envisioning.

  22. 22
    MacKenna says:

    I would employ Newt Gingrich to clean my toilet. With his tongue.

    But then I’d have to bleach the surface because ewwwwwwwwww.

    There are no suitable jobs for Newt Gingrich. He is the personification of toxic waste.

  23. 23
    JPL says:

    @ruemara: Newt was my rep and the only thing positive I can say is that he was less offensive than Tom Price.

  24. 24
    Palli says:

    Newt is an authority on good work ethics?

  25. 25
    Mnemosyne says:

    @JPL:

    Ask Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton cuz they know.

    Lohan’s parents put her to work as a child model/actress at the age of three years old and was working full-time on a soap opera by the age of 10, so she’s not a good example of what rich people do. More like an example of what bad, exploitative parents do so they don’t have to work.

    ETA: According to IMDb, both of Lohan’s parents worked on Wall Street before they decided it was easier to put their toddler to work than to do any actual work themselves. Explains a lot.

  26. 26
    bemused senior says:

    Having spent some time helping a NYC teacher in the classroom, I can provide eye-witness testimony that the kids and the teachers do the trash pick-up and put the chairs up on the desks at the end of the day. The custodian (who looks after an enormous multi-floor school building and grounds) might get called if a sick kid vomits on the floor, but my daughter the teacher kept cat litter a broom and a dust pan in her classroom closet to attend to such emergencies herself — it didn’t work to let kindergarteners dodge such spills for the hour or two it might take to get the busy custodian to come take care of it. Do we want elementary school children cleaning up hazardous waste?

    Also, doesn’t it create a work ethic to responsibly complete school work?

  27. 27
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    … making them stay back after school to clean up other students’ shit for six bucks an hour.

    Who said anything about SIX BUCKS an hour?

    I mean… it’s not like the little farkers have anything to do, or anywhere to go, after dark…

    Lord knows, our bazillionaires will have much better idea of what to do w/ all the extra money they’ll be saving than a buch of farkin’ kids…

  28. 28
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Denny:
    I don’t live in America myself. But I would be surprised to learn there were enough janitors on US$100K a year, in New York city or anywhere else, to count on one finger.

  29. 29
    JGabriel says:

    Gnoot:

    Dozens of poor students could have part-time, paying jobs for the $100,000 a year New York schools pay some custodians.

    As a New Yorker, am I supposed to be upset that our city pays some custodians (presumably hard-working custodians) 100k/year?

    I doubt that’s true without overtime, but if it were, I’d be proud that at least my city treats its workers humanely, even if the rest of the country does not. I mean, I’m not gonna bitch about the guy with one cookie on his plate when it’s the fucking hoarder with 75 cookies on his plate that’s causing all the problems.

    .

  30. 30
    RalfW says:

    I think it is outrageous how much bootblacks make in this day and age. Newt must re-instate the bootblack-orphanage complex within his first 100 days in office so that my boots may be properly blackened by the supple and delicate hands of 10 year olds.

    Thank you, Professor/President G. for Grinch Gingrich!

  31. 31
    slag says:

    @bemused senior:

    Also, doesn’t it create a work ethic to responsibly complete school work?

    Obviously not since Newt managed to get a PhD.

  32. 32
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Hey, it was good enough for Charles Dickens, who managed to get a whole era named after him as a tribute to the glories of backbreaking youthful labor!

  33. 33
    MikeJ says:

    @j:

    I’m curious if Newticles can prove that “some” of the NYC “janitors” are making $100,000.00 per year

    There was a guy profiled on TAL recently who was in charge of maintenance for an entire city’s school system, and he was extremely crooked. Newt will point to this guy (who is now in prison)as proof that his statement is true.

  34. 34
    lacp says:

    Pop quiz:

    Rick Santorum:Frothy Mix

    as

    Newt Gingrich:?

  35. 35
    Loneoak says:

    @j:

    That’s exactly what I was thinking: of course the country’s largest, most complicated school system is going to be employing some skilled, technically-savvy “janitors” who run physical plants and deal with hazardous materials. Likewise, never having worked an actual job in his pathetic life, Newt has no idea how infrastructures are operated and maintained and thinks $100K is spent on people who just clean blackboards. Maybe we should start parcelling out the multi-million dollar “historian” contracts at Fannie and Freddie to 8-year-olds; they’d probably do a better job anyway.

  36. 36
    gene108 says:

    Some of this work could be clerical

    When I was in middle school some of the kids got to volunteer to do something or another at the principal’s office. They worked for the school secretary.

    Purely voluntary and I guess a way for kids to get more involved with the school, not to cut out labor costs.

    Also, too why is it offensive a custodian earns $100,000 per year?

    Is there some social value in forcing people, who do manual labor into a perpetual state of poverty, like some feudal estate?

  37. 37
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    The “$100K a year janitor” is probably the person who manages the entire department for the whole school district, not someone who’s actually still doing daily maintenance. Assuming such a person even exists at all, of course.

  38. 38
    JPL says:

    @Mnemosyne: Thanks for the correction.
    Newt should write a paragraph on how he developed his work ethic.

  39. 39
    Anoniminous says:

    It may help to recognize Gingrich is a sociopathic fuck who looks at the destruction of Old South with regret; if those “inner city kids” (Read: Negroes) were slaving away – literally & as God Intended – in the cotton fields Life would be Grand.

  40. 40
    Loneoak says:

    @lacp:

    Rick Santorum:Frothy Mix

    as

    Newt Gingrich:?

    Bloated corpse.

    Edit: FYWP

  41. 41
    ant says:

    @Mnemosyne: I hear you.
    I got a paper route at 12, then moved to bussing tables at 16. I always worked, and though it a good thing.

    Somehow I doubt Newt’s kids did anything like that. He doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.

    That paper route is gone now. The bussing job is taken by people too old to be in high school these days.

    Kids today can get work ethic by sports, foreign language, learning to play musical instruments, etc…..

    All the stuff republicans want to take away.

    Where the FUCK ARE THE JOBS NEWT?

  42. 42
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MikeJ:

    I heard that one: “Petty Tyrant.” It was really fascinating. Basically, he somehow managed to convince his buddies in the school district that he should be allowed to simultaneously be the head of the union and be the manager, which normal people would realize violates The Point Of Having A Union 101.

  43. 43
    Mary says:

    @JPL:

    Ask Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton cuz they know.

    To be fair, Lindsay wasn’t born into money the way that Paris was. In fact, I would venture to guess that most of Lindsay’s problems stem from the fact that her parents forced her to work non-stop starting at a very young age.

  44. 44
    Zifnab says:

    Hey, if we’re coming up with great ideas, why stop at making children work as janitors and other maintenance staff? We could short-circuit the whole affair and just put them on farms where they could raise their own food and livestock while being trained by helpful overseers. Picking crops and plowing fields builds character, and trains you up for a future of picking crops and plowing fields.

    And the best part is that since you are already paying them in room and board, it doesn’t cost the “school” (which will hereafter be referred to as “plantation”) a thing. In fact, I bet if you played your cards right, the state could actually make money off these endeavors. Then all we’ve got to do is privatize the school plantation system and we’re on the fast track to economic recovery.

    Who is with me on this?

  45. 45
    dmsilev says:

    @Denny: Well, the Gingrinch claims in that article that 20 custodians in NYC made $140K each; his source for this was the NY Post. Without even bothering to look into the matter, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that those numbers should be taken with an entire ocean’s worth of salt.

  46. 46
    Mnemosyne says:

    @JPL:

    Lohan is a good example of why putting children to work at a young age is a Bad Idea. It very occasionally turns out okay (cf Jodie Foster, Brooke Shields) but usually not.

  47. 47
    rikyrah says:

    I believe they are evil sociopaths.

    period.

    I just get livid reading this bullshyt.

  48. 48
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Party like it’s 1834.

    All labour is irksome to those who are unaccustomed to labour; and what is generally meant by the expression ‘rendering the pauper’s situation irksome’, is rendering it laborious. But it is not by means of labour alone that the principle is applicable, nor does it imply that the food or comforts of the pauper should approach the lowest point at which existence may be maintained. Although the workhouse food be more ample in quantity and better in quality than that of which the labourer’s family partakes, and the house in other respects superior to the cottage, yet the strict discipline of well-regulated workhouses, and in particular the restrictions to which the inmates are subject in respect to the use of acknowledged luxuries, such as fermented liquors and tobacco, are intolerable to the indolent and disorderly, while to the aged, the feeble, and other proper objects of relief, the regularity and discipline render the workhouse a place of comparative comfort.

    (The Poor Law Report of 1834)

  49. 49
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    That’s a manager, like you say, not a “janitor”. It doesn’t surprise me at all that Noot is stretching his definition of the latter to absurdity. It’s a common trick among people arguing dishonestly.

    Is $100K a plausible salary for such a manager? It seems a tad high to me.

  50. 50
    slag says:

    @Zifnab:

    Who is with me on this?

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say pretty much all Republicans, Tea Party or otherwise. And probably quite a few WASPY Dems as well. Those hardworking white Americans deserve a break today.

  51. 51
    RalfW says:

    @gene108:

    Is there some social value in forcing people who do manual labor into a perpetual state of poverty…?

    Yes. Didn’t you know that elitism is a social value? That the Bible says its okay to have slaves, as long as you don’t quite starve them to death, so low-wage menial jobs are practically paradise in terms of historical Judeo-Christian values?

    I mean, really, social values are just librul buzzwords for soshulizm anyway.

  52. 52
    merrinc says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Sometimes, home schooling looks very good.

    My 8th grade honor student begged me to withdraw her from public school two weeks after it started this year and homeschool her. I did so and have developed a new appreciation for how much our kids are missing out by the emphasis on standardized testing. But that’s a rant for another day/post.

    Perhaps instead of filling her head with stuff like Latin, algebra, and diagramming sentences, I should schedule a few hours of housework each day. Who needs college when you can pull down a hundred grand a year for mopping floors?

  53. 53
    MeDrewNotYou says:

    @Zifnab: I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    ETA- Let me improve your idea. Perhaps we could give the children ‘vouchers’ that would be represented by the child themselves. Allowing a private market to buy and sell these would promote competition and excellence and further improve efficiency.

  54. 54
    Larv says:

    …and it would allow 12- and 13- year olds to make money they desperately need.

    Um, the only reason a 12- or 13- year old would desperately need money is because their dad the janitor got fired from his job and can’t support the family anymore, thus requiring the kid to pitch in. 12-year olds do not desperately need money. Families which include them might.

  55. 55
    someofparts says:

    I glanced at a couple of other posts on that website and saw no hyperlinks. Doesn’t surprise me. I just wonder that the folks who do read that website don’t notice it.

  56. 56
    Davis X. Machina says:

    The only cause of poverty is not having enough money. You solve that by giving people money.

    Every other argument is about something else. They’re not all bad arguments, and some of them are worth having. But they’re not actually about poverty.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Is $100K a plausible salary for such a manager? It seems a tad high to me.

    It’s plausible for NYC, which is one of the most expensive places to live in the world. If we were talking about a small city like St. Louis, not so much.

  58. 58
    rlrr says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    $100,000 / year in New York City isn’t really that much…

  59. 59
    Citizen_X says:

    how do rich kids develop work ethic?

    Membership in the Lucky Sperm – Proper Uterus Club, obviously.

    I would point out that Newt brought up his child labor idea at the last (?) debate, and was applauded vigorously. He’s not the only one believing this crap.

  60. 60
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    First of all, here’s a story from a local TV news station that states that custodians earning more than $100,000 per year in base pay in NYC isn’t at all unusual.

    http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news.....23614.html

    The comments to that story state that it may be misleading, but frankly I don’t think that it’s crazy for Gingrich to have referenced $100,000-per-year custodians when that has been reported in the news.

    I’m not sure that Gingrich’s idea would be a money-saver, given that someone surely would have to supervise the kids doing the work he’s suggesting. However, I really don’t understand the reflexive bashing of the idea that kids could have an opportunity to earn some money. Having that opportunity isn’t the same as “making [the kids] stay back after school to clean up some other students’ shit ….”

  61. 61
    JGabriel says:

    Four Six Million …

    A politician raising his estimate of the number killed in the Holocaust to avoid looking anti-semitic*? Or …

    … To Win In Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, and Nevada

    … a Ron Paul fundraising ad?

    Utterly clueless.

    (*For those unfamiliar with this trope, it’s common rhetoric for anti-semitic conspiracy theorists to complain that there were “only” 4 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, as oppposed to the more widely accepted figure (by sane people) of about 6 million.)

    .

  62. 62
    Thoughtcrime says:

    Newt needs the Ludovico technique performed on him.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi.....k%2771.jpg

    Here’s an appropriate sinny for him to viddy:

    The Cry of the Children (1912)
    Recognized as a key work that both reflected and contributed to the pre-World War I child labor reform movement, the two-reel silent melodrama The Cry of the Children takes its title and fatalistic, uncompromising tone of hopelessness from the 1842 poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The Cry of the Children was part of a wave of “social problem” films released during the 1910s on such subjects as drugs and alcohol, white slavery, immigrants and women’s suffrage. Some were sensationalist attempts to exploit lurid topics, while others, like Children, were realistic exposes that championed social reform and demanded change. Shot partially in a working textile factory, Children was recognized by an influential critic of the time as “the boldest, most timely and most effective appeal for the stamping out of the cruelest of all social abuses.”

    (It was just announced as a 2011 selection for the National Film Registry)

  63. 63
    Adrienne says:

    @JGabriel:

    As a New Yorker, I’m not offended by the janitor making $100K. I’m offended by the fact that most teachers don’t.

    I think that’s a marker of Republicanism. If, upon hearing that teachers make $50K and some janitors make $100K your first instinct is not outrage that the teachers are paid so little but that the janitor isn’t working for menial wages, you, my dear, are a Republican. And a shitty human being also, too.

  64. 64
    Mary says:

    @Jonny Scrum-half:

    However, I really don’t understand the reflexive bashing of the idea that kids could have an opportunity to earn some money. Having that opportunity isn’t the same as “making [the kids] stay back after school to clean up some other students’ shit ….”

    I’m guessing that the “reflexive bashing” stems from a passing familiarity with the circumstances that led to child labor laws in the first place.

  65. 65
    Adrienne says:

    There’s usually one, maybe two custodians assigned to an entire school where they’re responsible for cleaning up after THOUSANDS of students every day. We’re not talking about schools in the sticks with 100 kids. This is NYC where even a smallish elementary school has at least 1,000 kids. Why shouldn’t custodian’s pay reflect their responsibilities?

  66. 66
    Larv says:

    However, I really don’t understand the reflexive bashing of the idea that kids could have an opportunity to earn some money.

    If you think it’s a good thing that kids be able to make some money, shouldn’t we just do away with the laws against child labor?

    Newt’s suggesting that poor kids have the opportunity to earn some money at the expense of the people who are currently earning that money, i.e. the current custodial workers. Are those custodians overpaid? I have no idea, and simply throwing out the $100,000 number doesn’t answer that. I suppose we’re supposed to be shocked because custodial work couldn’t possibly be worth real money. But this same work is supposed to teach poor kids the value of work? As long as it’s just the poor kids doing this, it seems to me that it’s more likely to teach them that they’re destined for a life of doing menial work that nobody really values. And that’s aside from the racial dog-whistle stuff Newt is trafficking in here.

  67. 67
    Mark S. says:

    @Zifnab:

    President Gingrich will probably start a couple of wars, so I see no reason why we couldn’t lower the military age to 12. The military is great at instilling discipline, and our children soldiers will be exposed to the latest cutting edge technology.

  68. 68
    Yutsano says:

    I am totally okay with this, as long as the kids get to A) unionize and B) get full benefits including overtime, health insurance, and pensions. Still look good to you Newton?

  69. 69
    slag says:

    @Mary: Remember who you’re talking to. These are often people who think Horatio Alger was a historian.

  70. 70
    Ruckus says:

    @MacKenna:
    Newty is a Superfund site. Now it’s all starting to make sense.

  71. 71
    PeakVT says:

    The reason nobody should begrudge paying janitors well is that they add value to society.

    I think if we were to judge Gnoot by the same standards he would be paying the rest of the country dearly for every additional second we let him live.

  72. 72
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Thoughtcrime:

    I have a great book by Kevin Brownlow (probably the foremost scholar of silent films) called Behind the Mask of Innocence that’s all about the silent “social problem” films. I’ll have to pull it off the shelf and see if that one’s in there (it’s pretty comprehensive, so it probably is).

  73. 73
    Satanicpanic says:

    Why do wingers think that labor is not a real market? Having too big of a supply of labor lowers wages, and adding kids to the market will only make it worse. Oh wait, that’s the goal. Nevermind.

  74. 74
    JPL says:

    @Mark S.: Maybe he could send them to Africa for training.
    Newt needs to climb back into his hole.

  75. 75
    andrewsomething says:

    @Denny:

    I know fact checkers have gotten a bad name recently, but FactCheck.org did their homework on this one:

    There are several classifications of custodial workers, but the one that probably most closely resembles a janitor is a “cleaner,” said Robert Troeller, president and business manager of Local 891 of the International Union of Operating Engineers in Brooklyn, N.Y. These are the folks who dust, mop and sweep, among other things. Cleaners get paid $18.13 an hour. That comes to $37,710 a year. But there’s another catch. In the first two years, entry-level cleaners are paid 15 percent less than that — $32,054. That’s substantially less than an entry-level teacher.

    The $100,000 thing seems to have it’s basis in a NBC report. Unsurprisingly, it’s not the people pushing mops getting that kind of money.

    Things get trickier for “janitors.” For starters, there is no such job title as “janitor” in New York City schools. So let’s start with “custodial engineers,” the job designation in the NBC News report. It’s true that the base pay for an incoming custodial engineer is $81,000 a year, said Barbara Morgan, a spokeswoman for the NYC Department of Education. But there’s a catch. According to the contract negotiated with the union, employees only get 70 percent of that base pay their first year. The pay then goes up 10 percent a year in subsequent years, up to the full base pay. So it’s more accurate to say that a first-year custodial engineer makes about $56,000. That’s more than a first-year teacher, but nowhere close to double.

    More important, custodial engineers are supervisory positions (much like the ones Gingrich said he would keep). According to the description in the latest notice for the civil service exam, the job is a lot more than pushing a mop. It entails hiring, training and supervising custodial staff; doing payroll; and maintaining and doing minor repairs to HVAC, boilers and plumbing. In general, custodial engineers are “responsible for the physical operation, maintenance, repair, custodial upkeep and care of a public school building and its immediate grounds.”

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jonny Scrum-half:

    However, I really don’t understand the reflexive bashing of the idea that kids could have an opportunity to earn some money.

    Really? You don’t understand why people are reflexively bashing the idea that we should fire unionized adult workers who get decent salaries and benefits and replace them with part-time 11-year-olds who won’t have to be paid minimum wage? And that all of this should be done in the name of developing the child’s “work ethic” while the adult draws unemployment?

    The mind boggles.

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @andrewsomething:

    Raise your hand if, like Jonny Scrum-half, you think Newt plans to pay these kids the same $18 an hour that the adult “cleaners” are currently getting.

    Anyone? Bueller?

  78. 78
    Bmaccnm says:

    @Mnemosyne: My parents had us picking apples in an orchard for our fruit and tending a neighbor’s dairy herd for our milk when we were quite young. I learned to work, but I didn’t learn to like it. I didn’t like work until my second or third day as a new nurse in a neonatal ICU, when something I did actually saved some one else’s life. I used to write out job descriptions for my children when they were young- “Pick up all the toys in the living room. Get out the vacuum cleaner. Vacuum the whole floor. Get mommy’s OK. Put the vacuum cleaner away. Get paid $2.00.” I valued their work @ $2/hr as grade schoolers & $5/hr as middle schoolers. I would never have let them work at school, especially if other kids didn’t have to work. My kids are young adults now, with good work ethics and good sense of self-worth. All this is to say, Fuck You, Gnoot. School is for learning. Home is for tasks.

  79. 79
    R. Porrofatto says:

    According to payscale.com, the typical Salary for a Custodian Janitor in New York ranges from $29,490 – $52,912 (with an average of $32k). (The average salary of a school custodian in Atlanta is $29k.)

    Secondly, all of these kiddie labor advocates never, ever mention all the jobs performed by adults supporting families that will be lost to the dirt cheap child labor of their libertarian wet dreams.

  80. 80
    RossinDetroit says:

    I work for a school custodial company. I’m typing this in a high school boiler room.
    The work is hard. One cleaner I know does forty four classrooms in 7.5 hours. You know how much of a mess kids make at home? At school it’s far worse.

  81. 81
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    @Mary:

    I’m no fan of Newt, so I didn’t read his proposal. If he’s stating that kids under 12 should be doing these jobs, I don’t agree with that. But even if he is, I don’t think paying kids to clean up around their school is the same as employing them to work in the garment industry or the coal mines.

  82. 82
    Mnemosyne says:

    Okay, last thing before lunch (good thing bosses are out for Christmas right now): it’s one thing to help high school aged kids (say, 15 or up) find jobs. It’s not at all the same thing to decide that 10 and 11 year olds should be going to school and holding down a job at the same time, which is what Newtie’s proposing.

    If the kid’s supervisor decides s/he didn’t scrub the school’s toilets sufficiently, would the supervisor be allowed to pull the kid out of math class until the supervisor is satisfied?

  83. 83
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    As I said in my first comment, I don’t think that the idea will be a money-saver, because someone’s going to have to supervise the student-workers. I’m guessing that “someone” would be the current school custodian. I don’t really see how you could fire the custodian and replace him with 30 school kids, with no supervision.

  84. 84
    Mike in NC says:

    Hey, it’s just a few days past Christmas and Newt needs to keep using his Ebenezer Scrooge stump speech for just a little while longer. It’s the price he pays for being the smartest guy in any room.

  85. 85
    Waynski says:

    @Jonny Scrum-half:

    I really don’t understand the reflexive bashing of the idea that kids could have an opportunity to earn some money. Having that opportunity isn’t the same as “making [the kids] stay back after school to clean up some other students’ shit ….”

    People are reflexively bashing the idea because on its face it is monumentally stupid for many of the reasons already cited. 1) Some of what janitors or custodians do is dangerous and not suitable for children. 2) Someone would have to supervise the children and I can guarantee you in a time of tight budgets for the foreseeable future, that would end up being a teacher taking away time they should be spending teaching, grading or preparing to teach 3) How does one decide which students get the honor of cleaning up after their classmates? Would everyone have to take a turn or would it be the poorest of the poor who “desperately need the money”? If the latter, I’m sure none of the other kids would tease or bully the after school shit squad or whatever probably crueler name the kids would come up with for the poor souls pressed in to such duty. 4) You’re taking away jobs from people who already have them. The list goes on. Hope that helps.

  86. 86
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    @Larv:

    How does working a menial job somehow teach a kid that he’s destined for menial work all his life? My first job, at age 14, included cleaning toilets at a recreation complex. Most kids can only do “menial” jobs.

  87. 87
    slag says:

    @andrewsomething:

    In general, custodial engineers are “responsible for the physical operation, maintenance, repair, custodial upkeep and care of a public school building and its immediate grounds.”

    I think this fact juxtaposed against both Gingrich’s fantasizing and NBC’s reporting demonstrates how undervalued–in our dominant culture–operations work actually is. And I’d argue that this lack of appreciation for the complexity of the things we’re surrounded by everyday is at the heart of how easy it is to polemicize against government. We rarely appreciate stuff that works but frequently complain about stuff that doesn’t work. I really do believe this is a fundamental problem in our society that, due to its ubiquity, is incredibly difficult to address. Then again, maybe more graphs will solve the problem.

    /rant

  88. 88
    wrb says:

    If we saved enough money by replacing the janitors with kids, we’d be able to afford giving the kids a second bowl of porridge.

  89. 89
    Maude says:

    This is from a guy who never worked a day in his life.

  90. 90
    metricpenny says:

    @JPL:

    Just barely JPL. Just barely.

  91. 91
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jonny Scrum-half:

    You don’t fire the custodian, you fire the $18 an hour cleaners and replace them with child labor. That’s what Newt is proposing: firing adults and replacing them with children.

    That’s why his modest proposal keeps getting big cheers at the Republican debates: it combines union bashing with racial animus (“we’ll fire those overpaid union workers and replace them with poor black children who don’t even have to get minimum wage!”)

    It doesn’t matter that janitorial work is less bad than the risk of being scalped by a textile machine. You’re still advocating that we replace decently paid adult workers with underpaid child workers in the name of teaching children a “work ethic.”

  92. 92
    RossinDetroit says:

    I know a LOT about cleaning schools. Very little of it is hand work. We use machines for everything. You want a kid cleaning the cafeteria floor with a 900 lb battery powered Tomcat 2700 floor scrubber?
    About the only hand work is pulling trash, sweeping and dusting. And there isn’t enough of that to keep a hand full of kids busy.
    Now if you could train them to change light bulbs and ceiling tiles we might have a deal.

  93. 93
    RossinDetroit says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    $18 an hour cleaners

    Try half that, and only after you complete 90 days. Kids would be the lowest rung on the totem pole.

  94. 94
    toujoursdan says:

    Here is the story:

    New York Post: Janitors ‘clean up’ Top 20 school scrubbers pull in 140G-plus

    Here is some context:

    The Daily Beast:The $140,000 Janitors

    There are a few custodians who made $140,000 because of seniority and overtime, but the median janitorial wage in NYC schools is $28,000. Like most of Newt’s ideas, it isn’t very well researched. There isn’t much money savings here.

  95. 95
    RossinDetroit says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You’re still advocating that we replace decently paid adult workers with underpaid child workers in the name of teaching children a “work ethic.”

    Teaching “serf ethic”, they hope. Get ’em young and grind the motivation out of ’em. They’ll be less trouble when they grow up.

  96. 96
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Fair enough. I wouldn’t doubt that Newt’s proposal is really designed to undercut union workers. As I said, I have no intention of defending Gingrich. However, the idea of providing kids an opportunity to work isn’t a bad one, in my view, regardless of who suggests it.

  97. 97
    David in NY says:

    @andrewsomething: Thanks for the NYC custodian info. I was taken in for a bit by the NBC story.

    There were in the recent past, loads of corruption built into the city’s contract with the custodians. Perhaps the worst part was that a principal could not direct a custodian to do anything, so stuff just didn’t get done. Also, weird pay differentials. I believe that in the last 20 years this has changed, but I’m not sure.

  98. 98
    slag says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    That’s why his modest proposal keeps getting big cheers at the Republican debates

    Citation added.

  99. 99
    pat says:

    I can not believe that he is still going on about this shit. And in writing.
    How I wish the old newtered would have to spend ONE DAY doing what he thinks 10-year old kids should be doing. For $3000 a year. That won’t even buy one of Callista’s earrings.

    Sick slimy bastard. I spend a lot of time yelling SOCIOPATH at the evening “news” whenever they have one of these scumbags on to spout their poisonous nonsense.

  100. 100
    marv says:

    I see some people are talking about paying the little sociopaths. If we’re teaching them a work ethic, shouldn’t they have to take out long-term loans to pay us back for that invaluable part of their education?

  101. 101
    JGabriel says:

    @Adrienne:

    As a New Yorker, I’m not offended by the janitor making $100K. I’m offended by the fact that most teachers don’t.

    Adrienne, I think we can agree that teachers, on average, should be paid as much as custodians, and probably more, at least to compensate for their student loans and other college costs — though I’m not going to be too upset over a custodian with overtime and 30 years seniority taking home a slightly higher paycheck than a first year teacher.

    Neither of these people are the ones with all the cookies, though. I’m reserving my fury for the people who won’t pay their fair share into the system and for the GOP that advocates their cause and implements the policies that profit them and impoverish the rest of us.

    After all, having two people from two different middle-class to lower-middle class occupations at each other’s throats, i.e. teachers vs. janitors, is far better for the top half percent than to have them joining together and saying, “Hey. Yeah, you with all the cookies*. Start chipping in some of that moolah before we pull out the pitchforks and the guns we have Second Amendment right to carry.”

    ___

    *I’m assuming everyone recognizes this allusion, but for anyone who doesn’t, it’s a reference to this joke:

    A unionized public employee, a teabagger, and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, then looks at the teabagger and says “Watch out for that union guy—he wants a piece of your cookie!”

    .

  102. 102
    RossinDetroit says:

    @pat:

    How I wish the old newtered would have to spend ONE DAY doing what he thinks 10-year old kids should be doing. For $3000 a year. That won’t even buy one of Callista’s earrings.

    Well, I’ll give Noot credit for never playing the ‘ordinary working guy’ card. He sees himself as the philosopher king of Western culture. Work is for other people.

  103. 103
    pat says:

    Slightly OT, but I just finished reading The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson and have started on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Sloot.

    Great reads, both, and I recommend them to anyone who wants to know more about what it was like to be black in the first few decades of the 20th century.

  104. 104
    The Bobs says:

    Mike Rowe should get Newt to do a stint on Dirty Jobs. I’d love to see him try to do some of those jobs and then say the workers are overpaid.

  105. 105
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if New York City schools served their students as well as they serve some of their custodians?

    Wouldn’t it have been great if some of the jocks at Newt’s HS held his head underwater in the boy’s room a bit too long and we’d live in a better universe as a result?

  106. 106
    Sophia says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    If the kid’s supervisor decides s/he didn’t scrub the school’s toilets sufficiently, would the supervisor be allowed to pull the kid out of math class until the supervisor is satisfied?

    This question inspired a bit of comic horror in me. During my senior year at a private high school I had a work study scholarship; discount on tuition in return for cleaning my assigned classroom at the end of the day. The program was supervised by Sr. Joan and if she wasn’t satisfied with my work she would pull me out of homeroom at the beginning of the day to finish the job. I was pretty much always slacking on the vacuuming, so Sr. Joan used to track me like the “I want my $2” kid from Better off Dead shadowed Cusack.

    In my defense, my less than 100% commitment to vacuuming D111 was due to me hurrying to my after school minimum wage job that I used to earn the rest of the money to cover my tuition. Work study can be a great deal for older students, at least when I was in school. It could be the difference between attending that school/college or not. The value was in educational opportunities, not a wage. I think some of the traction Newt gets with this idea is people associating it with work study. But kids shouldn’t have to work to go to public schools.

  107. 107
    JGabriel says:

    Adrienne, you should probably check out this article that toujoursdan:

    The Daily Beast: The $140,000 Janitors

    Turns out only a few custodians with seniority and extensive overtime are making more than teachers. Don’t believe everything you read in The New York Post. Actually, don’t believe ANYTHING you read in The New York Post, or anything else that’s owned by Rupert Murdoch.

    .

  108. 108
    Redshift says:

    My father-in-law actually had to work as a janitor at his own school back in the 30s, because his family was that desperate. He got through it and finished school, but it was not a happy experience. High school kids were no more pleasant and understanding then than they are now.

  109. 109
    Adrienne says:

    @JGabriel: We’re saying basically the same thing. Perhaps you misread me. As you can see from my other posts, I’m not at all trying to pit those two against each other. In fact, like you, I despise the fact that people can look at the two and decide it’d be better to lower the janitor’s pay instead of increasing the pay of the teacher.

    Like you said, we’re all scrounging for cookies. The people harping on the janitor would rather forcibly break his one cookie in half to spread around vs asking the dude in the corner w/ 100 cookies to voluntarily give up 10. It’s crazy.

  110. 110
    Ruckus says:

    SHIT!!!!
    There is so much wrong with newty and his ilk and what they have done to this country, I just want to scream till my lungs explode. Over 100 comments about just one of the totally fucked concepts that conservatives are demanding for us, let alone all the financial fucking we’ve taken/are continuing to take. It boggles my mind that in the 21st century we are discussing child labor. And not about ending it but bringing it back. And I marvel(because I can think of no other words) at how many of my fellow humans are cheering abject cruelty to others.
    SHIT!!!!

  111. 111
    Adrienne says:

    @JGabriel: You should probably read my response :-)

  112. 112
    j says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: It would never happen. Newt was banging his math teacher, (who he eventually married) and she would have protected him, probably by flunking the entire jock clique so they would get kicked off the teams.

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/100231014

  113. 113
    Calouste says:

    @RossinDetroit:

    You assume that this is about cost and efficiency. It isn’t. It is about punishing the poor. If kids can’t handle a 900lb cleaning machine to clean a cafetaria floor, they’ll just have to use mops, or failing that, toothbrushes.

  114. 114
    Tone In DC says:

    @Ruckus:

    That the fat salamander said this shit is no surprise.
    What pisses me off is this: this asshole or someone like him is going to receive over 45% percent of the popular vote next November.

    I just hope Obama receives more, and 270 electoral college votes.

  115. 115
    gaz says:

    I got as far as Gnoot…

    As far as that is concerned? All I gotta say is *really*?

    His name is NEWT, FFS!… it needs no adulteration. It already fits to a T. (Apologies to actual newts)

  116. 116
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Let’s step back here and look at the broad argument that Gnut is making, which is that America cannot and should not provide well-paid blue-collar jobs (custodians) or well-paid lower-end professional jobs (teachers), i.e. the jobs that were the engine of economic mobility in the post-WW2 era.

    That’s even more fucking disturbing than his Victorian fetish for sending kids up chimneys.

  117. 117
    Svensker says:

    @j:

    I’m curious if Newticles can prove that “some” of the NYC “janitors” are making $100,000.00 per year, or if he just pulled that number out of his large ass.

    I loathe Newt, but, no, he didn’t pull this out of his ass. It’s true.

  118. 118
    Karen says:

    If this becomes the law of the land, the prettier children could make more money on the street.

    After all, if the children are now the breadwinners for the poor, how will they make more money? Below minimum wage for cleaning schools or $50 per “servicing.”

    Or they could sell all the drugs the adults will be on to deal with how horrible the world has become.

    I’m being facetious here but the only difference between what Newt is suggesting the poor people in the country do with their children is that one is the “moral” way of whoring out children.

  119. 119
    Waynski says:

    @Jonny Scrum-half: Granted and agreed. But there are much better ways to do that.

  120. 120
    Waynski says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I suspect they did and he’s the result. Careful what you wish for.

  121. 121
    Ruckus says:

    @Tone In DC:
    Yeah that’s really my point, but I’m so utterly dismayed that any fuck like newty will get more than 4% to 5% of the vote anywhere on the planet. How do people walk around with their heads that far up their asses? Is it so far that it once again rides on their shoulders? Are they the human form of a Klein bottle?

  122. 122
    LanceThruster says:

    I’d certainly like to see the itemized breakdown on just how Newt “earned” $1.7 mil as Freddie Mac/Fannie May “historian”.

  123. 123
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Newt Gingrich is a fucking fascist and should be sent to pick grapes in Cali over his $300,000 corruption swindle as Speaker of the House

    Let’s be honest what this business is about: Newt Gingrich knows that Republican men get semi-boners over the idea of young black people forced into . . . .mmmm . . . . .serrrrrvituuuude . . . *wretched elderly lily-white supervillain ejaculates before erection is achieved*

  124. 124
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jonny Scrum-half:

    However, the idea of providing kids an opportunity to work firing union workers and hiring kids for half-pay isn’t a bad one, in my view, regardless of who suggests it.

    Since you don’t seem to have understood Newt’s actual proposal the first dozen times it was explained to you, I have fix’d it for you.

    For the hundredth time: he is not proposing finding a way for poor kids to earn a few extra dollars. He is proposing a cost-saving measure where the public schools fire the adult workers and put the kids to work in their stead for less than minimum wage.

  125. 125
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @LanceThruster:

    I’d certainly like to see the itemized breakdown on just how Newt “earned” $1.7 mil as Freddie Mac/Fannie May “historian”.

    Lies. . . . . .$1.7 million
    Filth . . . . .$300,000 (charged but unreported)

  126. 126
    Jebediah says:

    @Zifnab:

    Who is with me on this?

    Way too many people, sadly.

  127. 127
    AA+ Bonds says:

    It’s also fuckin funny to me that everyone is all on Newt for his lobbying money, as well they should be, while Romney’s crooked ass Bain Capital let’s-bankrupt-America money is considered legit

  128. 128
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The “$100K a year janitor” is probably the person who manages the entire department for the whole school district, not someone who’s actually still doing daily maintenance. Assuming such a person even exists at all, of course.

    You can always tell the brownshirts in America because they instantly believe shit like this and rattle it off at parties. They believe in secret Jew conspiracies to pay blacks hundreds of thousands of dollars to impregnate white women or whatever.

    Seriously, those people, the “I HEARD TRASH COLLECTORS MAKE LIKE $250,000 IN NEW YORK” crew? They will be right there tattooing the numbers on your arm if they “take America back” as they always say they’re going to (palingenetic ultranationalism a la Griffin, natch, I almost always got his books open on my desk when I do the FoxNews daily read)

  129. 129
    James Gary says:

    @Svensker:

    I loathe Newt, but, no, he didn’t pull this out of his ass. It’s true.

    No, it’s not. The NBC piece is bulls*it…read the comments on it. The $100K positions are for custodial engineers– which is a position requiring, among other qualifications, considerable HVAC maintenance skills.

    This is how zombie lies get started, by the way.

  130. 130
    JGabriel says:

    Adrienne, Adrienne: Got it. Yep, we essentially agree then.

    .

  131. 131
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    (I suppose it’s unfair to say that they will be tattooing the numbers on your arms because of course, the brownshirts got knives and were replaced by the SS, whose equivalents you will find among the Ivy League in the U.S.)

  132. 132
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @James Gary:

    The $100K positions are for custodial engineers— which is a position requiring, among other qualifications, considerable HVAC maintenance skills.

    Man, $100,000 for a one-man campus-dedicated HVAC technician team in a large U.S. metropolis sounds like a pretty cheap deal for whoever’s paying for it, I doubt the private sector pays that low in the same area

  133. 133
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You’re pretty rude. I thought that my response @96 made it clear that you didn’t need to “fix” or “explain” anything to me.

  134. 134
    Jebediah says:

    @gaz:
    You may be right, but I approve of adulterating his name anyway as a sign of disrespect.

  135. 135
    g says:

    “I really don’t understand the reflexive bashing of the idea that kids could have an opportunity to earn some money. Having that opportunity isn’t the same as “making [the kids] stay back after school to clean up some other students’ shit ….”

    If Newt were really serious about helping poor kids acquire marketable job skills by performing work study, he’d target jobs that would raise them out of poverty – intern them with a school administrator, allow them to serve on committees to set district policies, have them assist the district public information spokesperson, have them work with the science faculty on maintaining labs. apprentice them to architectural firms designing new school buildings.

    Gingrich tips his hand by choosing the most demeaning jobs in the system, and – incidental dog-whistle – the jobs that have been stereotyped as being for minorities.

    Targeting poor “urban” kids for janitor jobs is no different than targeting them for remedial classes because of their skin color.

  136. 136
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jonny Scrum-half:

    You’re trying to steer the conversation away from the horrific things that Gingrich actually said so you can claim that we’re all overreacting to his plan to fire adult union workers and use 10-year-olds instead. So, yes, I’m trying to keep you on-topic rather than letting you wander away singing “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” and pretending that Gingrich didn’t really say what he said.

  137. 137
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I wasn’t wandering away from anything. I was commenting on the front-page post, which bitched about the “menial, low-paying jobs” in which kids would be required to stay after school to clean up other kids’ shit. Many of the commenters picked up on that argument. That was BS, and I said so. When you brought up the fact that Gingrich’s point was to screw union workers, I agreed. I wasn’t trying to steer the conversation anywhere.

  138. 138
    dcdl says:

    I don’t know about all schools, but in my children’s elementary school each classroom has it’s own helpers. For instance, someone will take care of the trash, someone wipes counters, etc. Every student gets to be a ‘helper’ throughout the school year. They basically pick up the classroom and take care of it except for major things. So I’m not sure what Newt is talking about. Sweeping, washing, waxing the floors, taking care of the toilets, the gymnasium, cafeteria, changing lights, fixing rotten ceiling tiles, dealing with mold, leaky roofs, heating issues, what?

  139. 139
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jonny Scrum-half:

    I was commenting on the front-page post, which bitched about the “menial, low-paying jobs” in which kids would be required to stay after school to clean up other kids’ shit.

    You mean the menial, low-paying jobs that Newt is proposing giving to kids?

    Students—especially those from very poor families—would be better served if they had the opportunity to earn money part-time at school by doing some of the tasks custodians are now performing so expensively.
    __
    Dozens of poor students could have part-time, paying jobs for the $100,000 a year New York schools pay some custodians. For that amount, more than 30 children could work just two hours each school day and each take home $3,000 a year by the time they are 12 or 13 years old.

    Again, Newt isn’t proposing that we make it possible for some kids to earn much-needed cash on the side. He’s proposing that we fire adults and put children in their place because we don’t have to pay the kids as much.

    Oh, but Newt says they could give the kids “clerical” jobs, too. And the cleaning jobs are “similar to the chores many parents require their kids to do at home,” so clearly he’s not proposing paying kids less than minimum wage to stay after school and clean up after the other kids. Except where he does.

  140. 140
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m going to stop to go to bed, but I don’t really understand what you think we’re arguing about. I’ve already conceded what I thought was your point about taking jobs from adult union workers. With respect to the type of job that Gingrich is proposing, I understand and agree that they are menial and low-paying. That’s the type of work that kids do. It’s the type of work that I did when I was 14-18. So what?

  141. 141
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Jonny Scrum-half:

    That’s the type of work that kids do. It’s the type of work that I did when I was 14-18. So what?

    For fuck’s sake, ruggerbugger: if you’re firing actual adult workers in order to teach children “work habits” — and that’s the explicit rationale of “ideas man” Gnooooooot — then what exactly are you teaching them, when the spawn of the 1% will be getting internships at Daddy’s Office?

  142. 142
    opie jeanne says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Workhouses continued to exist far into the 20th century in England. I read a book that touched on the horrors of the workhouse. Children were separated from parents, wives from husbands. The children often died, without the mother ever being told. One woman lost all five of hers and eventually, when she was an old woman, she was turned out with a sewing machine and told to support herself. The story-teller met her during WWII, and by then she was insane.

    The name will come back to me when this thread has died.

  143. 143
    opie jeanne says:

    @Jonny Scrum-half: You must have missed the earlier comment by Newt, which was all about inner-city children not having parental role models for a work ethic, and his proposal was to put these same children to work at their schools.

    It’s a big dog whistle for “them niggers don’t work so how are their kids going to learn how to work unless we step in and require them to work?”

    The more recent comment/article by Newt clarifies it and makes it even worse.

    I think maybe you’re too far outside the information loop to be commenting until you catch up.

  144. 144
    RobNYNY1957 says:

    There is so much that is vague about this proposal. Is the work compulsory or voluntary? Are the two hours a day in addition to or instead of regular class time? Do they pay taxes? Do they receive benefits? How many children would it take to replace one janitor or clerical worker?

    Let’s say the work takes place in the 2 hours after school. Who is goin to supervise X number of children doing different tasks in different parts of a large building? Will they be excused from homework? Are they effectivelyy barred from extracurricular activities? What if things need to be taken care of during the day?

    Let’s say the work takes place during the day. Does that mean that the children are getting 3/4 of an education, and how does this help them? Do they just take fewer classes or do they miss a different class every day? Do the miniature janitors get uniforms, or do they have to attend class in the same clothes they cleaned toilets in?

    Who is going to train them to type, do filing, fill out forms, operate copy machines, clear drains, fix wiring?

    Incidentally, based in Newt’s numbers I calculate that the children would be paid $8.33 per hour (180 days in a school year, 2 hours per day, $3000 per school year).

    I knew from supervising junior lawyers with excellent backgrounds that inexperienced young people in any field are “negative help.” It takes them four hours to do what I could do in one, and then it takes me two hours more to fix what they have done. Is this principle going to apply less to 12-year-olds than it does to Harvard Law graduates?

  145. 145
    James says:

    I thought the idea was to offer these jobs to kids, not force them to work after school.

    Are you too stupid to understand that there’s a difference between offering something to someone and forcing them to do it??

  146. 146
    JoJo says:

    James, how many eight – ten year olds do you think will want to scrub toilets? That’s assuming that their parents will let them do it in the first place. I don’t see this working unless the children are forced into it.

  147. 147
    RobNYNY1957 says:

    James:

    Nothing in what Newt says that it is voluntary. I am not sure you could be sure of getting the necessary number of children to do the work unless there was a compulsory element to it. Otherwise, how you be sure that you would have enough little hands pushing brooms to get all of the work done every day? If you can explain that, perhaps then we can safely assume that it’s fully voluntary.

    Any other equally brilliant responses to my other queries? I long to be schooled.

  148. 148
    RobNYNY1957 says:

    Or how does this work in a voluntary system: Someone vomits in the hall, and the school needs a volunteer student janitor to clean it up. Which one is going to take 10 minutes in the middle of class to earn $0.83 cleaning up barf in front of man and god? It’s not something I would do for $0.83.

  149. 149
    RobNYNY1957 says:

    How many kids would it take to replace one janitor? If they worked exactly as efficiently as a regular janitor, it would take four kids working working ten hours a week. That seems unlikely. You’d have to have plenty of overcapacity to be sure that everything gets done on time. Let’s say eight. Do they all work as much of 2 hours a day that is necessary. Do they get paid for all 2 hours, or just the portion they work? If they get paid for the part they work, how would they reach the $3000 they are supposed to earn? Is it worth giving up class time and extracurriculars for wages that are not guaranteed? If the wages are guaranteed, wouldn’t everyone join and hope that overcapacity means they will hardly ever work?

    To manage, schedule and train a team of 8 part time janitors, wouldn’t you have to hire a supervisor? Combined with the wages of the children, how much would this save over the cost of a single full-time janitor? The supervisor would presumably have to have all of the skills of the former janitor in order to supervis and teach them. But hiring the janitor for it might not work unless he had well-developed management skills for scheduling, record keeping, making job assignments. If the kids have their shifts from two hours before school to two hours after school, it sounds like you would actually need two manager for each team of eight, or else have to find someone willing to take on 14-hour days five days a week. That’s a lot of overtime.

    If this is such a great idea, why haven’t schools done it with kids over 14, who can already work on part-time jobs? If no one seems to be able to pull this off with 17-year-olds, why should be expect it to be possible with 12-year-olds?

    This is all just Management 101, available at any community college. These are not details — these are fundamental aspects of determining wether Newt’s proposal has any practical merit at all. Or whether it is the blather of an idiotic blowhard who, contrary to all evidence, thinks he is smart.

    James, the ball is in your court.

  150. 150
    RobNYNY1957 says:

    I havent’ even begun to think about clerical jobs. I think back over the secretaries, administrative assistants and paralegals I have had, and try to imagine which ones of them could be replaced by a team of 8 twelve-year-old kids working in two hour shifts. It’s a rather droll idea. Or which ones would do their job with a net gain in efficiency if they were being helped by a twelve-year-old, or several of them, working two-hour shifts. Yeah, that’s a great idea.

    Plus you have the clear risk of giving children access to their classmates’ files. Another great idea.

    Once again, Federal already permits this with fifteen-year-old kids. Where has this ever been implemented?

    Insights, James?

  151. 151
    Jebediah says:

    @RobNYNY1957:
    You’re doing what, I believe, Neut NEVER does with any of the “visionary ideas” he barfs out – you’re methodically thinking through as many of the details and ramifications as you can. If any of our highly-paid pundits and TV “analysts” put half your effort* into their reporting on Greengrinch’s stream-of-idiocy ramblings, his image as a “public intellectual” would have ended long ago. It just sends me around the fucking bend to hear him referred to as an intellectual or an idea person.

    *I’m not implying that it was a big or difficult effort for you, but clearly too big for our TV gasbag millionaires.

  152. 152
    RobNYNY1957 says:

    Jebediah:

    I appreciate the compliment. I went to college with two people who are now nationally recognized pundits, and to law school with a third. Their opinions, analyses, and itellects were unremarkable, but they had the ability to produce 500 words per day of them. I seriously think that their ability to meet deadlines with enough verbiage is the source of their success. And in this country, the ability to excrete 500 words of punditry qualifies you as a policy expert in every field of human endeavor. And these people have real influence on you, me, and the people we decide to kill to protect democracy.

    Oh, and feel free to quote me, if you cite me and fix the typos. I am a very rapid, but inaccurate typist. That is the reason that I do not carry around an assault rifle.

  153. 153
    RobNYNY1957 says:

    And as for “barfs out,” I wish it were that hole.

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