KILKENNY -- Supermacs just got better in Kilkenny, now that the air is no smoking. Every weekday morning, a circle of baby buggies marshals into Supermacs in High Street and the teenaged moms behind the prams puff away and chat. Well, they used to smoke away their mornings that way. Now the air is clear and the queues are smaller.
Teenage smoking is a rite of passage for the lower class in Ireland. On average, teenage smokers spend just over a year less in school than non-smokers. Results published in The Journal of Economic Surveys shows that 16-year-old smokers do not value education as much as non-smokers. The data reveal a direct correlation between education and income; the longer you spend learning, the higher your
The study suggests that kids who smoked at 16 spent less time later on in school, not because they hung out in the jacks, but because smoking recealed something about how they valued the future. David McWilliams thinks
An interesting way to look at the difference between people in our society is to assess the different values people put on the future. In a country where many of the old descriptions of working class versus middle class versus upperclass have blurred, where such termsSome facts from the UCD Institute for Social Change bear examining.
as AB1s or C1 means very little, one of the most crucial differences between people iw whether they value the present or the future. Education is the most stark area where valuing the here-and-now over the future can cost dearly. The longer you stay in education the more money you earn in the future.
- Going to school can be regarded as investing. Those who invest get more back in the future, because they value the long term.
- On average you earn 7% to 9% more for every year you spend in schooling in Ireland. This is a huge amount of cash when compounded for every year of work.
- If you leave school at the Junior Cert (the highest phase achieved by many in Supermacs in the mid-morning on weekdays), you are much more
likely to be relatively poor in later life.
- Someone with a degree earns on average 25% to 40% more than someone who leaves school with the Leaving Certificate.
- These distinctions have become larger during the past two decades in Ireland. As the economy moves up the value chain, uneducated
workers fall behind faster.
- Compared to their peers, teenagers from the Neilstowns and Jobstowns of west Dublin who stay in school for longer can expect to earn 16% more per year of schooling than their mates who drop out.
- Nearly 30% of Irish boys fail to earn the Leaving Certificate. In Ballyfermot, 51% of boys fail to earn the Leaving Certificate. You can draw a direct connection between the lower education rate and the higher crime rate in a specific area.
- Stupid workers means having lower wages, higher
unemployment, more social disintegration, more taxes to pay for gardai and social welfare, more inequality, more squalor, and more angry kids smashing car windows.
Second, you draw from best practise, such
as the experience of James Heckman, the Nobel prize winner. His work with disadvantaged groups suggests that the state must intervene early with parents to try to foster a culture of education. Here's how this
- You tell kids that school is cool
- You give incentives to kids who go to school.
- You set up homework clubs.
- You tell parents that when they let their kids leave education behind, they are letting their futures behind too.
David McWilliams -- "Stupid workers are
Ireland's stupid future" in The Sunday Business Post, 30 Nov 03