Industrial Revolution changed the way many Americans do business.
The explosion of this new era brought in profits for textile mill
owners, factory owners, and other manufacturers. As industries
grew, products became cheaper and the need for cheap labor increased.
Children began putting in longer hours for cheaper wages; they
were caught in the industrial bandwagon. Due to the long hours
of hard work, children lacked the time and energy for school.
Illiteracy among children grew and education was not considered
a priority as much as financial survival.
Photo by Janet
of the year 2000, about 250 million children between the ages of 5-14
perform some sort of labor or service (UNICEF). In many developing countries,
child labor is a serious problem. From the period of 1877 to 1910, the
government of Mexico, although politically secure, did not set up a
public education system. This meant that children who could have been
in school doing productive work become a target of industrialist looking
for cheap labor. Girls are more likely to be kept away from schools
than boys because of their stereotypical domestic roles. In Ecuador,
an alarmingly high number of children under the age of fifteen have
quit school. According to the Human Rights Watch, 45 percent of children
who work in the agriculture sector in the United States drop out of
Photo by Janet
could mean freedom from oppression and poverty. However, these desperate
parents do not encourage the children to attend school and they
do not emphasize the importance of knowledge. There are many children
who would like to attend school. Twelve-year-old Furman Owens, said
to photographer Lewis Hine, "Yes I want to learn but can't
when I work all the time." Education is as American as apple
pie for children in the U.S. and commonplace in other wealthy countries.
There is no doubt about the positive effects it can have for children's
future. However, for the other millions who do not attend school
because of exploitation or poverty, their future becomes much more
limited than it already is. Their hopes and dreams of a satisfactory
life is left behind as they step into the role of hard working adult
role of hard work, ready to take on the toil and sweat of trying
globalmarch.org; "Mexico," Encarta Online, hrw.org