In Washington, legislators continue to hear from executives and investors in the science-based industries including biotech, healthcare, engineering and, particularly, technology, about the need to expand the number of H-1 visas granted to foreign-born STEM workers. Foreign workers are necessary, we are told, for their businesses and the United States to stay competitive. These conversations, and the related congressional hearings, have become a standard part of the STEM conversation in Washington. The result is congressional action (and inaction) on looking at the STEM problem as a shortage that can (or cannot) be fixed through immigration reform. This addresses an immediate need but does little to develop our own national human resource.
As our economy steadily improves and we look ahead to the next four years, it’s time to turn our attention to solving the intractable problem of long-term unemployment. Reforming the General Educational Development exam – better known as the GED – is one of the most promising pathways to getting this done.
As a retired Air Force officer who served our great nation for over 35 years, I feel strongly that national security should be a primary consideration when
addressing the deficit. But strong national security is about more than aircraft, ships and tanks — it is about the men and women who operate this high-tech equipment.
Some things may have changed since my days flying missions all over the world, but three things remain certain: 1) the caliber of recruits we need to serve in our all-volunteer force is increasing; 2) young Americans’ readiness for military service has decreased; and 3) we ignore this widening gap at our peril.
Just three weeks ago, minority and immigrant communities turned out in record numbers to support President Obama and other Democratic candidates. Republicans say they got the message, and many, including the House Speaker, have since expressed their intention to reach out to minorities and reengage on comprehensive immigration reform. I sincerely welcome this changed rhetoric, but on Capitol Hill it appears to be business as usual.
On Friday, the House will again consider the Republican “STEM Jobs Act,” which would provide green cards to foreign, advanced-degree graduates of U.S. universities in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Democrats strongly support this concept. STEM graduates of U.S. universities are innovators who create new businesses and jobs and will help spur growth in the U.S. economy.
How to put the nation’s economy on the path for growth and job creation was the central debate in this year’s election. Now that the campaign is over, the public lens remains focused on our economy; but the nation as a whole is also beginning to see a different demographic picture emerge—one that many are calling the New America. According to exit polls, the non-white share of the electorate reached 28 percent, an all-time high. And this changing face of America has prompted the president and congressional leaders to make immigration reform a top priority alongside the economy.
Yet even with this newfound willingness of our lawmakers, comprehensive and bipartisan immigration reform will be a cumbersome and lengthy process. There is, however, an aspect to this complex puzzle on which bipartisan agreement exists and that will immediately create jobs and grow the economy: STEM immigration reform.
Tax reform is coming fast in the nation’s capital, both Republicans and Democrats agree. The concept of lowering tax rates and eliminating tax breaks is appealing to almost everyone. But it will be hard to find consensus in the details. What deductions go and which stay? That’s where the fight will be.
All sides should lay down their arms on one set of issues: Investments that clearly benefit society and economic growth. In particular, post-secondary education should not only be spared but it should actually get a new tax break as part of an overhaul of the tax code.
The idea is simple. Interest paid on student loans should be made tax deductible.
Newly elected Members of Congress came this week to Washington D.C. for orientation, with a majority of the incoming Democratic members identifying as women, people of color, or a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Many of these individuals come with histories of disenfranchisement and difficulty. Their stories are of struggle, from working in warzones to growing up with homophobia and bullying. Their arrival in town, and their stories, coincides with DC Public Schools’ partnership with The Bully Project to bring together thousands of students and educators for a screening of the film Bully -- all to raise awareness about bullying in the District.
One of the greatest things about the American Democracy is that citizens have the Constitutional right to vote for government representatives whom we believe will best represent our interests, our communities and our individual freedoms.
With election season coming to a close, federal government officials will slowly begin preparations for a new session of Congress. Newly elected representatives will soon learn that fixing our nation’s problems is a slow moving process primarily because there are very few issues on which everyone, regardless of political affiliation, can agree. One of these few unifiers, however, is the belief that all Americans, regardless of background, should have equal opportunity to achieve the endless successes the United States has to offer.
Several weeks ago, parents in Adelanto, California made history by successfully employing the state’s 2010 parent trigger law for the first time.
Their story is a triumph of community over bureaucracy and political inaction. After months of attempting to undermine and delegitimize parents’ demands, the Adelanto School District was ordered in court to comply with the parents’ petition to establish a nonprofit charter school at Desert Trails Elementary by the start of the 2013 school year.
Their victory is not only good news for the students of Adelanto, it has the potential to impact kids across the country. That’s because parent trigger laws are already on the books in California, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and are also in the process of being introduced in more than a dozen other states.
For those who have not heard of the concept, parent trigger laws allow parents whose children attend persistently low-achieving schools to petition for change.
Despite efforts by both parties to paint President Obama and Governor Romney as opposites, there is at least one policy area they agree on — the need to bolster our education system and expand the use of charter schools.
Teachers unions and their allies object to this concept, arguing that expanding student choice takes money away from (and thus weakens) traditional public schools. Opponents also question whether charter schools have the capacity to outperform their traditional counterparts. By examining Ohio’s charter school experience, we’re able to compare the performance of charter schools relative to their public counterparts.