For centuries ivory tower academics controlled education. They decided what was taught, how it was taught, when it was taught, and to whom it was taught. As public education evolved, politicians became their allies, and in some cases their masters. Liberal politicians hand out money “for the kids”, and in return the academics advance their left wing objectives. Consider some recent changes: reducing teaching civics and history, cutting reading the classics, and turning classrooms into laboratories for “innovative methods”. How many different ways have academics experimented with to teach basic mathematics in the past 75 years or so? Can kids figure out 2×2 any better today than they could back then? Politicians are obsessed with being “fair”, so schools eliminate grades, homework, and give everyone an award for showing up. Standardized tests are “dumbed down”. Then parents wonder why colleges need remedial high school courses, employers wonder why young employees lack good communication and math skills, and many wonder why young people can’t handle real life (which is not fair). Academics and politicians have third partner: textbook publishers. Every time academics decide that the teaching methodology of a subject like mathematics has to change, those companies reap a windfall. Likewise when politicians decide that a subject like history needs to be presented with a different slant, e.g., don’t love your country, hate it, because what happened 200 years ago is YOUR fault. Technology companies have latched on to the “spend-spend-spend” profiteering of textbook publishers. The kids must have absolutely the latest technology. Does anyone care what it’s being used for (or isn’t)? Do local school administrators even know what the latest technology is or are they buying into to sales pitches? Since the Feds began their takeover of public education in the 1970’s the US has spent over one trillion dollars on education but it’s nowhere near number one in achievement internationally.
There are signs that the winds are shifting. President Trump selected a businessperson for Secretary of Education. In the state of New Hampshire, the Republican governor selected a businessperson for Education Commissioner. Business people know that money is neither free nor unlimited. They understand “return on investment”. They know, as academics should, that one size does not fit all, so they’re more supportive of alternatives to public schools like charter schools, magnet school, private schools, and home schooling. Common Core is a win for liberal politicians who seek to indoctrinate children with “common values” but a loss for states, parents, taxpayers, and the kids.
But… sometimes the winds shift the other way too. New York state was praised for requiring a literacy test for teaching candidates. After all, literacy is the foundation of learning. Well, the liberals are considering abolishing the test because minorities have more difficulty in passing it. One candidate complained about the test being given on a computer. What does that person expect to see in a modern classroom? Once again we see the best interests of the students being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.
In her technology agenda (which you can read on her own web site) Hillary Clinton gives the nation’s technology moguls, hedge funds, and teacher’s unions everything they could want: billions of dollars for technology research, internet expansion, and computer science education. Then she gives US graduate students in STEM subjects a big slap in the face. She wants to give green cards to foreign STEM graduate students along with their diplomas. That’s right, green cards! These aren’t the non-immigrant H1B work visas that allow a foreign worker to work for one company; these cards grant permanent resident status with a path to citizenship.
So, how does this hurt US graduate students? A permanent resident can apply for any job with any company, anywhere, any time. That puts foreign graduates in direct competition for the best jobs with US graduates, and once in the job line they’ll probably get favorable treatment. This competition is globalism at it’s worst. It’s inherently unfair, one reason being that there’s no reciprocity with other countries. A US student couldn’t get an MS in Computer Science in Canada, for example, and expect to be granted automatic residency. The result will be that US students, already burdened with the heaviest debt, will be relegated to the lower paying, less challenging jobs.
How can anyone who wants to be president of the US suggest establishing a completely open global job market in the US? Globalists like Soros must be cheering. Hillary shouldn’t be elected, and if you’re a STEM student or have students in college you now have a good reason to not vote for her. She’s working for Wall Street, not for you, regardless of what her signs say.
There is an alternative: the H1B visa program. While I’m opposed to employers using the H1B visa system to replace experienced US professionals I recognize that this program has a legitimate purpose in allowing employers to fill necessary jobs that are unfilled by US citizens. If the H1B visa regulations were strengthened to protect US citizens as I suggested in “Does STEM Matter Any More” we could balance the needs of technology employers with the right of US STEM graduates to be at the front of the employment lines.
A vote for Hillary is a vote against US students.
As our progressive government and it’s subservient public school system try to steer students towards college degrees in STEM subjects the Democrats are simultaneously devaluing those degrees. Did you see the article about STEM graduates working in Wal-Mart to pay off their huge student loans? Want to know how this administration is undermining US citizens? The answer is H1B visas. Conceptually companies can only request H1B workers to do jobs for which no citizen is qualified. Some companies are using foreign contractors to bypass the intent of the visa program. Most recently, April 24th was the last work day for IT workers at Abbott Labs as they were replaced by contract workers, some of whom are here on H1B visas. In some cases US workers have had to agree to train their foreign replacements and not sue the company in order to get their severance packages. Talk about adding insult to injury. Some companies just go the direct route. Tech giant Intel has announced a 12,000 person layoff at the same time it has requested over 14,000 H1B visas. Could that be a coincidence? The whole H1B visa scam began in Silicon Valley, where cheaper foreign workers replaced US workers who were conveniently labeled “obsolete”.
So why is this happening? One is the progressives’ obsession with globalization. US workers must compete, even if unfairly, for US jobs. India has an education industry created solely to teach students computer programming and minimal English so they can come to the US. This is what I described in “Undocumented Foreign Aid”, i.e., the money these high paid workers send overseas. Another is simply the ignorance of the public that’s more concerned with the latest reality TV show than their children’s’ futures. There’s even a bit of UN Agenda 21 as this is de facto wealth redistribution.
To protect US workers I propose the following modifications to the H1B visa program:
- No employer shall terminate or coerce a US employee into leaving in order to replace that worker with a foreign worker, either directly or through the use of a contractor. If an employee is terminated the position must be filled by a US worker or left open for one year. The position cannot be eliminated and recreated with a different title to bypass this rule
- No employer can require a terminated employee to sign any agreement that would protect the employer from a lawsuit if the ex-employee learned that the position had been filled by a foreign worker within one year.
- No terminated employee (unless terminated for cause such as theft) shall be denied any promised severance package for any reason whatsoever.
I have also proposed inversely indexing the H1B visa quota to STEM unemployment and raising the cost of H1B visa holders to US employers.
Next time President Obama says “every child should learn to code” ask him “why?”.
Update: Billionaire Zuckerberg wants even more H1B visas to replace US workers and foreign companies taking US jobs. He’s starting with $24 million to help train Africans in computer programming. Since he can thank the US for being so rich why doesn’t he fund retraining for US IT workers who have been displaced by foreign workers? Since they already know computers they shouldn’t have any problem learning the latest coding techniques, and they actually speak English.
Update 2: Hillary Clinton’s “Tech Agenda”, her plan for US technology should she win the 2016 election, would be to “staple” green cards (permanent residency) to diplomas of foreign STEM students. More foreigners in Silicon Valley, more citizens flipping burgers.