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Education United States Politics

Does US Owe the World an Education At Its Expense? 689

An anonymous reader writes "'Right now, there are brilliant students from all over the world sitting in classrooms at our top universities,' President Obama explained to the nation Tuesday in his pitch for immigration reform. 'They are earning degrees in the fields of the future, like engineering and computer science...We are giving them the skills to figure that out, but then we are going to turn around and tell them to start the business and create those jobs in China, or India, or Mexico, or someplace else. That is not how you grow new industries in America. That is how you give new industries to our competitors. That is why we need comprehensive immigration reform." If the President truly fears that international students will use skills learned at U.S. colleges and universities to the detriment of the United States if they return home (isn't a rising tide supposed to lift all boats?) — an argument NYC Mayor Bloomberg advanced in 2011 ('we are investing millions of dollars [actually billions] to educate these students at our leading universities, and then giving the economic dividends back to our competitors – for free') — then wouldn't another option be not providing them with the skills in the first place?"
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Does US Owe the World an Education At Its Expense?

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  • We have the same... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @05:07PM (#42742271)

    in France.
    They come, study, get a diploma...
    And go away :)

    For all that time, free university, free medical expenses...

    F*ck socialism, it killed my country.

  • by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @05:12PM (#42742359) Homepage

    In fact we charge them outrageous tuitions in many cases. I went to a state university, and our department actively recruited students from India and China because they brought in the most cash.

    For the same reason, there was no outreach to the community college just down the street.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @05:20PM (#42742495)

    The context of these remarks is immigration reform. I think the point is, "if they come here for an education, we should focus on attracting those people so they STAY here, and contribute to the US economy." They come here, pay thousands of dollars in tuition, and then take all the valuable skills and knowledge they've acquired, and leave the US... which doesn't really help the US expand its economy - they're not starting companies here, paying taxes here, and creating jobs here.

    US immigration policy is, first, last, and only, for the benefit of the US. No country knowingly adopts and keeps immigration policy that is actively harmful to its interests, and President Obama is suggesting that US policies are harmful to us, and so need to change.

    As far as "a rising tide lifting all boats," when Reagan said essentially the same thing, it was called Supply Side Economics, and Trickle-Down economics, and "Voodoo Economics," and it was roundly dismissed as foolish bullshit. Since TFS uses the phrase... I'm curious what relationship it has to President Obama's proposed policy?

  • yep (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mozumder ( 178398 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @05:21PM (#42742523)

    International students are the ones that are paying full price for our universities, and they're the ones that keep our universities funded.

    Universities court international students like it was nobody else's business.

    A good part of the US GDP can be traced to actually selling higher-level education to international students. Consider that each international student brings in $50k+ to the US GDP, and multiply that by the number of students per year. It's easily a bigger industry than Hollywood.

    I'm surprised that Government doesn't allow more sales of education to international students. Our economy could use that money.

    Foreign money really does grow an economy. Consider also that in the 90's, the immigration door was wide open. Millions of people came to America. Now consider that each one needs to buy a house, at $100k+ each... you could pretty much explain the incredible GDP growth back in the 90's by our open border policy back then, and you saw how it hit our economy when we closed the borders after 9/11.

  • by clong83 ( 1468431 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @05:35PM (#42742787)
    For undergraduate degrees, yes, we do. But the main point is for advanced degrees in STEM. For graduate students, yes, tuition is still charged. The university gets paid whether you are international or not. The question is: Who pays?

    It may surprise you that most STEM graduate students don't pay for their own tuition. In fact, most get paid out of some grant money somewhere. So, in effect, the American Heart Association, or the National Institutes of Health, or the National Science Foundation, etc, etc, will pay a professor at a university to study a problem. The professor then hires a graduate student to work on said problem. The professor takes the grant money and pays the student's tuition and a small salary. So, in effect, US organizations and taxpayer dollars fund an overwhelming amount of international students. This is fine, the professors, universities, and various agencies want to attract the best talent, and it's a worldwide marketplace.

    Now, the real kicker is that after they graduate with a masters or doctorate, we make it difficult for them to stay here if they want. There should be an easy path in place for recipients of advanced degrees at US universities to stay here if they want. There's not. An awful lot of them are sent back home against their will. So I ask you: What is the point of bringing someone to this country, funding their education, and then demaning that they return home?
  • It's a business dude (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Coeurderoy ( 717228 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @05:38PM (#42742839)

    In practice the US benefits by being able to select the best foreign students, sells them overprices education at a tremendous cost and then it will have the opportunity to keep a good percentage of them.

    And of course it would be much more dangerous for the US to reject this slice of the world population, because they would be perfectly able to build a similar teaching / research structure if they would need to...

  • by Princeofcups ( 150855 ) <> on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @05:39PM (#42742845) Homepage

    2. A college education is more than just job training, and the perspective and growth it provides are only allocated to a small portion of the populace. We need to be talking about making college as universal, free, and affordable (for society) as high school. Then we'll see some real progress.

    I think that's the main problem. College in the US has become the trade school for high tech jobs and professional sports players. There are still a few universities that emphasize intellectual pursuits above practical ones, but they are usually the most expensive. I don't think I'm the only one seeing the trend that is leading us to the new dark ages. Bread and circuses, as Rome burned.

  • Yeah, right.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by superdave80 ( 1226592 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @05:50PM (#42742993)

    ...That is why we need comprehensive immigration reform."

    Does anybody REALLY believe that this is why Obama want's 'comprehensive immigration reform' (translated: amnesty)?

    Or do we think that he wants to pass reform so that he'll have a few million illegal aliens granted citizenship so that they can vote for his party?

  • Educating the US (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @05:58PM (#42743127) Journal

    Meanwhile, they learn the local language and culture. They are more likely to do business with you.

    The reverse is also true: US students will learn that there are people outside the US with different cultures and beliefs to their own and that, if they want to do business with them, they will need to take this into account. Since they provide this education for free to US students perhaps the question should be "Does the rest of the world owe the US an education?"...or we could just agree that its a mutually beneficial arrangement that we all learn about different peoples and cultures and leave it at that.

  • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @06:02PM (#42743191)

    Meanwhile, they learn the local language and culture.

    Wasn't my experience in CA in the 80's

    Self segregating, separate clubs, etc. Some were even hostile...just try getting a date with one of "their" women.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @06:30PM (#42743595)

    Local Junior College in Sacramento had this problem. The Fundie Ukrainians took over the student council and started persecuting people, funding ukrainian-only events, etc. They only got ousted after a rather public expose on this in one of the local newspapers which led to enough of the student body taking notice to vote them out of office (Also helped that volunteers started handling voting outside the usual midday period, which a lot of us missed due to having classes back to back during the voting period.)

    Point being there's a lot of cultural clashes going on across the US, but as much as it could be considered a 'foreigner' problem, it's also a cultural shift towards apathy within the US population itself. It doesn't matter what ethnicity, cultural background, etc, the majority of people have become so lazy and apathetic that until someone makes a big deal out of political shifts that are happening, and it affects them either financially or personally, they won't take action to make any necessary changes to curb other people's anti-social activities, even if it's done using resources that are earmarked for public, rather than 'minority of public' purposes.

  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @07:07PM (#42743999) Homepage

    College in the US has become the trade school for high tech jobs and professional sports players. There are still a few universities that emphasize intellectual pursuits above practical ones, but they are usually the most expensive. I don't think I'm the only one seeing the trend that is leading us to the new dark ages.

    Modern colleges and universities (I.E. pretty much anything from the Middle Ages onwards) historically started as trade schools - and that's what they've been ever since. The purely 'intellectual' ones have *always* been the exception to the rule. (And even they, historically, weren't "pure" intellectualism, they really were just a high class trade school, meant to indoctrinate the upper classes.
    Before you start talking about dark ages and Rome burning, you just might study a little history.

  • by vivian ( 156520 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @07:24PM (#42744191)

    Scene: Data Models 101... 22 year ago.

    Lecturer: "Today we taak abou daita modw and tupw cacuwus"
                                  (followed by long string of chinese to the front row of foreign students)
    Students, row 1: lots of head nodding
    Students, rows 2 .. n: WTF!!?

    80% of us failed that subject - which was really just basic SQL and database normalisation design etc. I scraped through but just barely - while getting distinctions and HD's in other subjects. Went well in the assignments, but you didn't pass the exam it was instant fail, regardless of your assignmnent marks. - and it didn't help that a good chunk of the exam was on stuff only in the lectures, not in the book.

    Enough people failed that they went to the dean and tried to get the guy thrown out of teaching the course. Unfortunately there was no other chump willing to work for lecturers salary when those same skills were so much better paid out in industry, so they got the same guy the next year.

    Fact is, having foreign lecturers is nothing new, and I went on to successfully catch up on the stuff I should have learnt in those lectures - so it didn't hurt in the long run, infact, when working in industry overseas later, it was a lot easier to work with and understand other nationalities better, having already had a fair bit of exposure to heavy accents. God knows my foreign language skills aren't exactly awesome, so you got to cut the lecturer some slack.

    Main thing, is if you have a lecturer you really can't understand properly, *insist* on getting access to decent written lecture notes from him, or recordings that you can go through again later. One thing that lecturer was right about though - having good knowledge of SQL and database design really pays industry.

  • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @07:27PM (#42744211)

    #1 is especially great. When I was in grad school for computer science, almost all of the office mates I had over the years were international students from India or China, and we were able to share a couple of great cultural experiences thanks to the time we spent together. While I do have fond memories of coming up with algorithms to solve problems that hadn't been solved yet, I have far more fond memories of us comparing notes and sharing aspects of our cultures.

    For instance, in one conversation I had with an Indian friend, we realized that even though we were both referring to an animal called an "ox", we were talking about very different animals (mine was more like a cow, whereas his was more like a water buffalo). And I remember the shock on his face when, after talking about animals that are local to different regions, I offhandedly mentioned that we don't really have monkeys in America. Despite the fact that he had been living in America for a few years, he apparently hadn't realized he had never seen one in the wild, and that realization came as a complete surprise to him, since he had grown up most of his life with monkeys around him in the same way that I grew up with squirrels around me.

    Then there was the time that my Chinese office mate had me over for dinner with his roommate. To say the least, while I was aware that American Chinese food wasn't authentic, any notions I had left were blown out of the water when they served up that meal. We were able to have a friendly conversation (during which they continually complimented me on my chopstick skills (which I always thought were rather decent), despite the fact that they were easily 3-4x faster than I was with them) about censorship and our perceptions of how each other's governments are engaging in it, which was rather enlightening for both of us. And in return for their hospitality, I invited them to join me and my family for Thanksgiving. As we were pulling up and they saw the neighborhood, they were convinced I was from an extremely wealthy background and were a bit surprised when I revealed that my family is pretty solidly in the middle-class. They took pictures of all the various decorations my parents had put up, be it plastic plants or the curio cabinet my parents keep in the corner of the living room, neither of which they understood the purpose of. Things that we would take for granted, but which seemed entirely...well...foreign to them.

    I also discovered prior to the trip home that neither of them were aware of what a turkey was, so I made sure to sit down with them in advance and show them a picture of what it was (my parents had an unfortunate incident a few years prior, when they had a family from the Philippines and Indonesia over for Thanksgiving, only to discover partway through the meal that they apparently kept turkeys as pets), yet their eyes nearly bugged out when they saw just how huge the bird was as it was coming out of the oven. And while some of the food clearly wasn't to their tastes (which was to be expected), they LOVED the homemade cranberry relish that my family makes for each Thanksgiving (to be fair, we like it too, which is why we keep making it).

    For me, I remember enjoying conversations over language the most. We'd discuss various odd constructs in Hindi, Mandarin, English, Japanese, or other languages and then talk about how they were handled in each. It was especially interesting to discuss English with the Indian students, since their background was in British English, which has a few grammatical differences from American English that none of us realized until they presented themselves (e.g. saying "he got off of the bus" and "he got on of the bus" sounded equally ridiculous to them, whereas the first one would sound just fine to an American).

    Perhaps the most valuable lesson I received, however, was during my first week of grad school. I recall being concerned that I'd be going head-to-head in my classes and research against the best and brightest from around the world, and while some

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @09:42PM (#42745709)

    This seems to be happening with Armenians in parts of Clifornia. It's a little worrisome and a little sad. I mean, I get that they were persecuted a hundred years ago and came to America, that's awful and everything, but they act like Armenians (oh wait, NOT the Russian-Armenians, ONLY the REAL Armenians) are the biggest shit since shit was invented. It's not professional, it's not becoming, it's not productive (IMO), and frankly I've never experienced such close-minded idiocy in all my life. I *get* they have a heritage, but getting it slammed in my face on a regular basis doesn't make me feel good toward the people that act this way... it just seems a little sad and pathetic (at least the way I get exposed to it).

    OTOH, I will say that younger Armenians seem pretty cool, nice, fairly accepting, and not nearly as racially-batshit as the age 40+ers. So, I suppose it's probably a generational thing and I should stop worrying. There's always that.

    I'm sure this stuff will always be around. People like to be in groups, they have a need to feel important, and if it takes making everyone else seeming a little less human to do it then they will. Human nature, sadly.

  • Um.. no (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @09:44PM (#42745725)
    our riches are built on two weak neighbors and an ocean that kept the war out in the 1930s/40s. We were the only ones that didn't get blasted into the stone age when mechanized warfare happened. The middle class (which is largely what people mean when they say 'our riches') was an accident following WWII. Pretty much everyone fought in the war and they came back war heroes entitled to a bright future. That plus fear of communists seizing your factory kept good paying jobs here. Well the baby boomers are retired and the current war vets are coming home to Walmart jobs. The US isn't vibrant, it's rapidly dying as a bunch of ppl with low self esteem and the opposite of an entitlement complex race to the bottom.

If you want to put yourself on the map, publish your own map.