I Agree with Newt; Let Kids Work

Hair properly coiffed (if his ideology isn’t so easily nailed down), Newt Gingrich is The Man of Many Faces to some, a growing element who are confused by his seeming ability to switch loyalties and viewponts whenever it suits… 

I never thought I’d say this, but here I am–agreeing with a Republican contender for the highest position in the land–Newt Gingrich.   He’s not just any contender, either.  He’s that shady, made-a-million-on-suspect-connections (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) as ‘consultant’ who now claims he’s no different than Mitt Romney  when the latter worked in the private sector, amassing a fortune.

But I’m confused…for I don’t believe Romney helped two major federally-funded agencies bilk the rest of us, by skirting the law/interpreting it in a manner condusive to him.  That’s the concern with Newt, a man who brings up the specter of Dick Cheney as Vice-President, having deep connections with oil conglomerate Halliburton, yet having significant input into decision-making concerning the oil nations we do business with.

I suspect power brokers anyway, never believing they do things altruistically or even with nationalistic fervor.

Now, that same Newt Gingrich wants to be our champion.

But what’s our common ground?  The belief that kids should be allowed to ‘do jobs in school.’

Newt says “We allow middle class kids to work (ostensibly he means at Dunkin’ Donuts or other such pay-by-the-hour, part-time gigs.) He wants to allow kids from lower socio-economic levels to have the opportunity to feel satisfaction at doing something worthwhile, and in this, I wholeheartedly agree. How does he state we should do this?  He wants them working at school jobs–select janitorial work now done by others who are paid for their efforts.  And I must say:  I agree with him.

You see, something happened many years ago that took our educational system and turned it upside down in the way schools doled out consequences for a student’s bad behavior.  We ceased expecting kids to work.  If a treacher held a student after (for an infraction), she had to give him/her two days notice and then that student merely sat in the classroom, after hours.

No longer could a teacher direct him or her to wash blackboards, clean erasers or desks…in short, we couldn’t make students do physical work; it was considered a violation of their rights.

When I began teaching (in 1967), I entered a suburban school of 1500 junior high students, a teeming mass.  The assistant principal had his “Goon Squad” of toughs (yes, they anointed themselves that), the group of miscreant boys who earned time off detention for being late, smoking, and generally being a nuisance.

How’d they work off their time?  By delivering goods to teachers, the supplies of chalk, paper, staples, etc.

What happened?  They developed pride as they became an important element of the school.  They had power (as only one who controls the supplies can)…they were respected…they were known as that select squad under the wing of none other than the second-in-command of the building.

They got to understand the dynamics of power and the respect that comes with it.  They began engaging with teachers in a productive way; they learned the principle of supply and demand; other kids now looked up to them, as unique school leaders.

When did they perform these jobs?  Either before or after their usual subjects, or in free periods where they used to get into trouble, for they weren’t the kids who’d be looking to study or do homework.

Yes, I never thought I’d say it…but in this one small regard, this former teacher of 30 years agrees with Newt:  We should let kids work select physical jobs in school. 

But that doesn’t mean I’ll vote for him for President, no matter how much he claims to be ‘redeemed’ (and I’m not talking about his marital infidelities). 

No, it’s his other baggage that concerns me….But tell us what you think…Comment link is below and you won’t want to miss Friday’s all-important post on “Success in Disneyworld” where I give real survival tips, (since I just got back from there.)  I wish someone had told me…

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A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog, kevinMD.com, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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