In contrast, I've always believed that education is the great leveller - upwards. One of the saving features of Soviet-era socialism was that it educated its citizens.
Hats off to Michelle Obama for putting this into words. Mrs Obama visited a girls school in London this week and said this:
If you want to know the reason why I am standing here, it's because of education. I never cut class. I loved getting A's, I liked being smart. ... I thought being smart is cooler than anything in the world.
Judging by the news reports, the girls at the multicultural school were inspired by that, especially in the days before their GSC Exams.
Smart behaviour should be seen as cool. Self-destructive behaviour should be seen as something for losers. These are lessons that teenagers need to be taught. As a teenager, I too tended to glorify negative behaviour to an extent, although I thankfully didn't go overboard and ruin my life.
It's great to have positive examples like the Obamas in this world. Youngsters need to see for themselves that working hard to build up one's education and communication skills is something to be admired and emulated, because honest success is not nerdy but cool.