Though children can be potent, not to mention cheap, laborers, such lives tend to be nasty, brutish and short. Decreeing an education for all would dramatically increase their long-term prospects, but the factories howl that losing so much of their workforce would be financially ruinous. In addition, there are those who would be outraged by the interference that compulsory school attendance would entail. It is time to choose a side...
Compulsory schooling for every child. A costly and controversial measure, but it means a brighter future for all.
Mandate an education for every child, but let school remain optional. Those who reject it may teach their own children.
It is the economy that matters, not children's wellbeing. Ignore this handwringing and drag every street urchin to the factory floor!