Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. House Speaker Newt… (Adam Hunger / Reuters )
Promising “extraordinarily radical proposals to fundamentally change the culture of poverty in America,” Newt Gingrich said Friday that he would fire school janitors and pay students to clean schools instead.
Speaking at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, the Republican presidential candidate and former speaker of the House challenged laws that prevent children from working certain jobs before their mid-teens.
Gingrich blames “the core policies of protecting unionization and bureaucratization" for “crippling” children.
“It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, in child laws, which are truly stupid,” he said.
”I tried for years to have a very simple model,” he continued. “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’d have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.”
Gingrich, who over the weekend said Occupy Wall Street protesters should "get a job" and "take a bath," suggested during the Harvard appearance Friday that poor children need to build a work ethic.
"Get any job that teaches you to show up on Monday," he said. "Get any job that teaches you to stay all day even if you’re having a fight with your girlfriend. I mean, the whole process of making work worthwhile is central."
Gingrich is the latest Republican presidential candidate to challenge front-runner Mitt Romney in the polls.