An interesting article on the Opinion page of Monday's Wall Street Journal questions if we are losing the global race for talent. The answer is, of course, yes. And we're doing it to ourselves with zealous anti immigrant legislation premised on "security" and the loss of jobs.
The security issue is somewhat bogus for the highly educated immigrant here to work isn't of the "blow myself up" mindset. Tightening visa requirements encourages them to search elsewhere for places they'll be welcomed for what they will contribute. The stem cell research issue is a good example. If it isn't done here other countries will welcome the research and those who will be conducting it with open arms. It will happen; it is happening.
The loss of jobs to foreign soil is a result of the exodus of technologies and those who develop and implement them to friendlier environs, growing nations who recognize the economic benefits and who don't have unions bleeding them dry.
Okay, you might say, we'll grow our own expertise. That brings me to this morning's headline in the Press -"Teacher contract talks turn sour". What's wrong with this picture? Teachers have to take two jobs to earn enough to live in Coeur d'Alene and raise their families. According to the NEA web site Idaho ranks 30th in the 2003-2004 statistics for average teachers salaries. This is hardly an environment to promote excellence.
How are we to produce the best and the brightest if we don't have the best and the brightest of educators? This isn't a slam at our teachers but rather a plea to recognize their needs. If we don't pay them a living wage they'll look for employment that does. And we'll have fewer and fewer of the best who might teach but simply can't afford to. It's a trickle down effect the economists don't look at. But we should. It hits home - our country, our jobs, our teachers, our kids. Right now we're caught in the middle. We don't want the best from elsewhere coming in and we don't provide the tools for our own.
It's like a squeeze play in baseball - eventually you're out. Don't let it be us.