Friday, March 25, 2011

America’s educated immigrants are going back home with our education. Yes, some of America’s top university educated people are leaving America to work elsewhere. President Obama said in his State of the Union Address, “Maintaining our leadership in research and technology, is crucial to America’s success. But if we want to win the future, if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas, we also have to win the race to educate our kids.” For years, America’s universities have attracted the best scientists in the world. It’s keeping them here once they are educated is now the challenge.
Visit the campus of any top American university, like the University of California, Berkley, you can see the striking racial diversity. Partly, it is a reflection of America’s diversity but it also reflects the desire of ambitious students from around the world for an American education. More than 690,000 students came to the United States to study this past year. Nearly 105,000 of those came from India and nearly 128,000 came from China.
Foreign students often excel earning more than half of all the Doctorates awarded by American Universities in Math, Computer Sciences and Engineering. America is known as the land of immigrants and always brought in the best of people from all over the world . This immigrant story has been the same for centuries. Many only bought one way tickets here. There was never an option of going back home even in colonial days because this was the only land of opportunity. If you studied in America, you stayed in America.
Five years after graduating 92% of Chinese students who came here, are still here. And 81% if students from India are still here. The rest of the world suffered because so many good brains came to America. Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin came from the Soviet Union. Pierre Omidyar who started Ebay is Iranian born in France. Jerry Yang co-founder of Yahoo! Is from Taiwan, and Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, is from India.

Now there seems to be a reversal. Many top school graduates are going back home. Particularly to booming economies in China and India. A survey in 2008 predicted that only 10% of Chinese students wanted to remain in the United States permanently. China is working hard now to get American trained scholars to return to China. At U.C.L.A. recruiters were there showing the students videos of their new Chinese Science Park. Chinese growing research and development centers are luring Chinese graduates with their American Doctorates back to China. American jobs are disappearing and everyone likes to go back home anyway.
Even some long established immigrants are leaving America to return to their ethnic background homes. They are grateful for all they have gained in the U.S., but realize the enormous strides China has achieved lately. They predict that in as soon as 20 years, China will be the place for new innovation as the most advanced place for science and technology in the world. They are also recruiting dozens of post-doctorate scientists to leave with them in intellectual teams.
Receiving awards from the White House is Professor Frank Bayliss from San Francisco State University. His solution to the departure of so many smart foreign students, is to find more smart American students. He runs a program at the University that supports low income and minority students whose potential in math and science may not have been promoted in their lives. These students are typically first generation college students. They have financial support from the National Institute of Health and The National Science Foundation.
Bayliss gets the students involved in Federally funded research projects. The students get paid for helping with high level research. Earning an income while they learn is important to these students. They get straight A’s because they have the time to study instead of having to take on jobs as a barista or waiter. As more of our top students leave this country, students at this University hope they can fill the void for America. Are we back to “Give me your tired, your poor” to keep America great?

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