[Repost] Are Schools Violating Child Labor Laws?

The title of this article is a bit provocative but there is merit in what the content of articles says. As students, we have to be at school for a certain number of hours for five days a week. Then, to get into a good college, we need extracurriculars and for most of us that will have to pay for our college education out-of-pocket, we will need to get a job.

For example, I’m taking six AP classes this year, I fence competitively and I have a job on the weekends. While you may say that I might have just chosen not to do all these things. I wasn’t forced to take all AP classes. No one told me I had to do sports. You get the gist. The only problem is that we are forced to do this. The competition for quality college education is intense. Prestigious institutions like the schools in the Ivy League are seeing their admission rates drop way below 10% in the past couple of decades. What a 4.0 GPA in the 90s and earlier is worth more than a 4.0 GPA now. Now, with that 4.0 GPA, we would also need to volunteer, be part of Student Council or some other leadership position, have high SAT and ACT scores, play sports and also have non-academic talents like in art or theatre. Because of the large pool of highly-qualified students who apply to these institutions every year, a lot of whether you get admitted or not may be a factor that’s obvious to the applicants and is sometimes due to pure luck.

So, in an effort to be competitive, students are saddled with too many activities and so little time. On top of the usual teenage uncertainty, they are forced to take on responsibilities that they shouldn’t be having. With an 8-hour school day, that’s already 40 hours a week. With homework and extracurriculars, the students are working major overtime hours.

So, how do you remedy this? One of the causes of this extreme competition is in the shortage of supply. The spaces at universities aren’t enough to accommodate the number of students who want to go to said universities. This doesn’t only apply to the Ivy League– it applies to local and state colleges too. With high demand and not enough supply, the price of college has shot up to several times over what had to be paid in the late 1900s. So, if universities can expand to accommodate a bigger student body in proportion to the increase in the overall student population, then we can control the level of competitiveness. Of course, we don’t have control over that.

So, the bottom line is, students have a lot on their plate so please don’t give busy work and otherwise unnecessary projects to us. I know that a lot of school districts have requirements as to how many grades are needed for each grading period (trimester, quarters etc. and includes interim grade reports) so I’ve had it where teachers had to assign work that we didn’t need to do just to meet the quota of six grades per grading period.

The article included today talks about how teachers not only assign a lot of homework each night, especially for high-level classes and then students either find themselves with a test, assessment or project every day of a week or have three or more of them stacked in one day. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Child Labor laws were created to protect children against being overworked and mistreated in the workplace, but what regulations are protecting students in schools?

According to US News, students, on average, spend 8 hours at school, spend 3.5 hours a night on homework, and have hours of extracurriculars and jobs. Personally, I have over 7 hours of extracurricular activities a week, with Wednesday being my only day to come home right after school, and I spend all of that time doing homework and catching up on readings from earlier on in the week.

According to the Georgia Department of Labor, minors under 16 cannot work more than 8 hours on a non-school day and 40 hours on a non-school week. The law in England extends this age to 18 and also enforces that those under 18 have a 12- hour rest between each working day. Currently, in school alone, we more than violate these standards.

Link to article here.

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