2.25.2007

Bill Gates: Pro Education & Immigration Reform

Bill Gates' How to Keep America Competitive (Washington Post 2-25-07), in which he calls for public school and immigration reforms in order to enhance America's economic competitiveness, is right on.

The on education reform he says, "we must demand strong schools so that young Americans enter the workforce with the math, science and problem-solving skills they need to succeed in the knowledge economy." He cites San Diego's High Tech High, an innovative technology oriented charter school with its 100% college admissions, as an example of the kinds of schools we need.

First, we must demand strong schools so that young Americans enter the workforce with the math, science and problem-solving skills they need to succeed in the knowledge economy.
On immigration reform, Gates is for expanding the immigrant pool for people with engineering and science training. He's calling on Congress to make it easier for engineers and scientists to enter the country to live and work.

Reforming the green card program to make it easier to retain highly skilled professionals is also necessary. These employees are vital to U.S. competitiveness, and we should welcome their contribution to U.S. economic growth.
And he's for allowing foreign students earning science related degrees to stay to live and work in the United States.

We should also encourage foreign students to stay here after they graduate. Half of this country's doctoral candidates in computer science come from abroad. It's not in our national interest to educate them here but send them home when they've completed their studies.
Gates' recommendations make sense to me, especially his emphasis on preparing more American students for careers in science and engineering. More schools like the High Tech High charter schools should be established--especially in the inner cities.

In terms of importing talent from abroad, I'm for that, too.

While I'd prefer to meet the demand for engineers and scientists internally, the truth is that our schools are not cutting it--especially those serving working class communities, and improving has been fiercely resisted by the public school lobby. Importing the talent is then a logical option.

However, the importation of educated foreign talent for high paying jobs in the U.S. maybe just the type of thing that may get politicians to push for real educational reform.