02 October 2007

Because American Schools Are Creating Mediocrities Out of Promising Young Minds

A recent post on Slashdot accentuates an ever worsening problem:
I am a new graduate student in Computer Engineering. I would like to get my MS and possibly my Ph.D. I have learned that 90% of my department is from India and many others are from China. All the students come here to study and there are only 7 US citizens in the engineering program this year. Why is that? I have heard that many of the smarter Americans go into medicine or the law and that is why there are so few Americans in engineering. Is this true?

But the question is not only relevant to engineering grad schools. It could be asked of US graduate training in math, computer science, physical sciences, and the more technical areas of biological sciences.

US higher education is considered the best in the world, when looking at technical and scientific training, and business and economics. (The arts and humanities have turned into indoctrination centers, but that is another topic.) It is logical that qualified students from China, India, and other less developed nations would travel to the US and take advanced training.

But it is also true that many of the graduate spots filled by foreign students would not have been filled by North American students anyway. Why is that?

First of all, I am not saying that this phenomenon is entirely bad for the US and Canada. Attracting the best minds in the world is not a new phenomenon for North America, and has benefited the region for well over a century. The problem is the minds that might have happily entered these technical fields had they been better prepared in preparatory school and grammar school.

Feminists complain endlessly about the problem that Larry Summers clearly and correctly (though timidly) mentioned in his famous talk that caused feminist science professors to faint dead away. Women are not entering technical fields at the same rate as men, and are particularly not achieving the highest levels of these fields, comparable to men. (Feminist professors are still holding a grudge against Summers, blacklisting him and preventing him from speaking wherever he may go)

But do the feminists differentiate between the foreign male students, graduates and professors, and domestic students, graduates, and professors? Well, men are men, and they are all the enemy, so to speak, so no. But do these outspoken feminists truly believe that the top universities discriminate against women AND domestic men when admitting graduate students and assigning professorships? How very odd.

As an aside, you may wish to go to Slashdot to see how quickly the discussion veered onto unrelated topics. That's one reason I rarely bother with Slashdot. With a few notable exceptions, the comment quality has dropped significantly.

The abysmal nature of lower education in North America, especially the US, has disqualified most domestic students who might have taken higher ed degrees in technical subjects. This is only part of the downward path of education in N.A.

But in the US, and Canada, the best way of becoming very rich is through business. Some scientists and engineers can leverage their technical and scientific training to a success in business. But so can high school and college dropouts.

Foreign students who wish to immigrate to the US and Canada can better do so by achieving a Masters or PhD in a useful subject. Thus part of the motivation for foreign students. Clearly, domestic students lack a comparable motivation, which is a huge part of the problem with lower ed training for science and technology. The reason for that lack of motivation will be explored in future postings.

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Blogger Ugh said...

My brother's children, products of a relatively wealthy family have achieved college graduate status, all 3 are above average in intelligence and all are delightful people (despite their political leanings) 1 is a lawyer who is married to lawyer, one is a journalist, and one is a business major. I'll let you guess which two are ultra-liberal and which is politically agnostic.

My point is these kids I believe answer your question as to why so few American kids go into science, math or engineering. None of them had any exposure through their formative years to hard science or computer/software development. They had plenty of environmentalism and self-esteem pablum.

I don't knock these kids at all they are all hard workers and will have very successful careers, but this is what we get...


Tuesday, 02 October, 2007  
Blogger Michael Anissimov said...

Slashdot sucks. Read Digg. Digg's voting system results in articles that people actually care about, instead of centrally-chosen content which is just silly.

Digg overtook Slashdot in traffic over a year ago because it is BETTER. See this:


Tuesday, 02 October, 2007  
Blogger IConrad said...

And, frankly, Reddit is better than Digg when it comes to not having drivel content; it's AI is friendlier to the reader in the presorting context.

I.e.; you get more of what you care about and less of what you don't, from Reddit, than you do Digg or Slashdot.

I don't even bother with Digg and sometimes peruse Slashdot still; most of my social-bookmark site traffic derives from Reddit, however.

Tuesday, 02 October, 2007  
Blogger al fin said...

Thanks for your comments, all.

Having worked in multiple countries myself, I cannot criticise others who train for higher degrees here with the objective of work and/or immigrating.

As I say, my concern is with the domestic students who may have been quite fulfilled and successful in scientific or technical careers, but avoided such due to poor preparation by lower schools.

As for Digg, Reddit, etc., I have not had the time to delve into the advantages and disadvantages of each. But Slashdot seems to be mostly a waste of time, from my observations.

Wednesday, 03 October, 2007  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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