Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, November 08, 2004

Stay in School 'til 18?

The Province of Ontario is concerned about the current 30% high school drop-out rate. There is good evidence that students who don't finish high school are less productive, earn less, and are more likely to commit crimes and/or become dependent on support from the province.

So the
Province wants to force the kids to stay in school:

"If they don't follow the rules, kids could face a judge's order to go back to school or another program, Education Minister Gerard Kennedy said.
If that order is disobeyed, a judge could order jail time as the most dire consequence."

The strategy appears to be: We'll make programmes more attractive to the students and train them through non-conventional programmes. And if they don't want to come to these programmes, we'll make them show up anyway (pity the teachers!).

I have an additional suggestion: lower the height of the social safety net. Make it less attractive for young people to leave home and live on welfare. Reduce the attractiveness of options other than finishing school. In Ontario, dropping out of high school is a viable option for many young people only because we have a comparatively high social safety net.

I'm not suggesting that we should make life unbearable for young adults who are in desperate straits; rather, I'm arguing that the social safety net in Ontario is still quite high -- and it is sufficiently high that too many young adults have government supported options that seem more attractive to them than finishing high school.

Who Links Here