The Brighest and the Best

Anti Immigration groups like the Center for Immigration Studies charge that the foreign workers who come in to the United States are not the Brightest and the Best. Dr. Norman Matloff, a Professor of Computer Science, in UC Davis, recently wrote a paper full of fallacies, whose main theme is that Asian students are inferior than American and Western students in Math and Science.

Lets look at some facts here. The Dept of Labor has mandated that foreign workers have to be paid more than the prevailing wage. The CIS fees for Companies over 25 workers is $2340/- each H-1B employee. Add attorneys fees to that, and the figure can reach almost $5000/- per H-1B individual. Would it make market sense then, for a Company to hire a foreign worker if American workers are available? Surely Mr. Matloff does not think that American businesses, like Cisco, Google and Microsoft, who he quoted in his article are stupid in making business decisions.

What Mr. Matloff has done to prove that Asian students are lower than European students is taken averages from those countries. Yes, Europe will have a higher average any day than China or India. That is because European countries have a homogeneous and small population, with free public education. India and China have over a billion people and of course cannot afford to educate its entire population. The same is true of states in the US. The average PSAT score which is used to compute the average for National Merit Scholarship is much higher in North Dakota than it is in CA, NY or TX. ND has a much smaller and homogeneous population than the larger states. But if you look at the population of students in the ivy leagues from the bigger states, there are more students from these states than there is from North Dakota. So the brightest and the best does not necessarily coincide with the median.

If we are to look at averages, can Mr Matloff explain why Asians have, as a group scored higher in the Math portion of the SATs? Why compared to their population in the general US society, so many Asians get accepted into the ivys? Bear in mind that Asians get neither legacy nor affirmative action in terms of admission to these ivys. My daughter just graduated from Yale University with distinction in Literature, and yes, the top scoring Science and Math student at Yale in 2008 was a student from Vietnamese origin. This is not a statistics, just a fact.

There’s got to be a lot of Asian students taking Computer Science at UC Davis. Do they enroll in Mr. Matloff’s class. If so, I would dearly love to know how he grades these students. With his prejudicial views, I doubt that he is a fair and impartial grader.

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