Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I don't think Lou would like this finding.

Via PhysOrg:
Immigrants who seek a better life in Western countries may not be able to escape the influence of their home country when it comes to their children's academic performance, according to findings from the October issue of the American Sociological Review.
The research, which looked at the mathematical literacy scores of thousands of 15-year-old immigrants to 13 Western
nations from 35 different native countries, indicates that economic development and political conditions in an immigrant's home country impact the child's academic success in his or her destination country.
Counter-intuitively, immigrant children from countries with lower levels of economic development have better scholastic performance than comparable children who emigrate from countries with higher levels of economic development.

The study authors also analyzed the impact of policies and political conditions in destination countries. In
traditional immigrant-receiving countries such as Australia and New Zealand, they found that immigrant children academically outperformed their counterparts in other Western nations. The authors theorize that this finding is likely the result of restrictive immigration policies that ensure that better qualified adults emigrate (e.g., those with employment and high levels of education), rather than a receptive climate toward immigrants or education policies designed to meet their needs.

I really wonder what that anti-immigration CNN anchor, Lou Dobbs, would say about this. After continuously calling for bans on immigration and mass-deportation of immigrants, here is a small report showing that the children of immigrants outperform the home nation's children. We can't have that now, can we? I mean, we shouldn't allow for more competition in primary, secondary, and tertiary education! It would be unfair to nationals of the country! (boo-hoo.)

I recently was talking with my housemate on the issue of immigration-and-citizenship. He proposed that it would be a good idea of allowing a person to obtain citizenship in the US if they satisfactorily complete secondary school. I agreed with him to a point. I think that a person who successfully completes secondary school in four or five years (hey, many have to deal with a second language), then that student should be awarded a work visa once he or she turns eighteen.
What is "satisfactory"? Well, having a single nation-wide test of competency at graduation should provide an answer to what is "satisfactory." This effectively happens every year when thousands of teenagers take the SATs and SATIIs to get into university. I think that having something similar for all highschool graduates should provide an opportunity for immigrant highschoolers a chance to both get into universtity as well as a chance at a work permit in the United States. Then, if an immigrant successfully completes an undergraduate education (to use a parallel metric, they would take the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, etc.), then they should be allowed full citizenship. All this ties into the rhetoric that we (Americans) want to have competent workers, instead of incompetent ones; that we want immigrants to "play by the rules" (without many Americans knowing how difficult and counterproductive those rules are); and that these immigrants shouldn't "steal our jobs" (thus the provision of a work visa with satisfactory completion of a US highschool degree).

This would allow immigrants to be easily hired by employers without having the employer do all the paperwork necessary for hiring a non-citizen. This would allow a legal path to citizenship through scholarly achievement (as opposed to military or natal paths). Of course, I also think that this path would be a non-starter for so many Americans that it would never see the light of day as a bill in Congress ("You're going to give those illegals a work visa, just because they have a highschool degree? F**k that!"). Oh well, one can always dream of a better way than what we have now.

No comments: