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Old 10-19-2010, 12:08 AM   #101
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I'm finding this thread interesting.

I come from a country (NZ) whose middle class is suffering from the same issues as the US described in posts above but I live in a region (Asia) where the middle class is growing rapidly. The differences in attitudes to education between the two countries are dramatic - in HK the competition to get children into good schools is intense. This is not just a few elite schools - it is many schools. Additional classes from a very early age in languages and maths are almost standard (music, art and any form of physical activity less so).

It begs the question of how closely attitudes to education for each generation are linked to future economic fortunes?
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Old 10-19-2010, 05:55 AM   #102
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Nords, thanks for clarifying the HS diploma/ military issue. It is a very bleak future without even a HS degree.

As I read all these excellent replies I am reminded of a book I recently read "outliers" by Graham. It explains why some people became famous, kind of right place right time right circumstance. I bring this up because my Artist son (who didn't listen to his mother to get a back-up plan) and his wife who was a religion major, happened to become as successful as my Engineer son and IT wife. I never would have guessed it.
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Old 10-19-2010, 06:05 AM   #103
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I'm finding this thread interesting.

I come from a country (NZ) whose middle class is suffering from the same issues as the US described in posts above but I live in a region (Asia) where the middle class is growing rapidly. The differences in attitudes to education between the two countries are dramatic - in HK the competition to get children into good schools is intense. This is not just a few elite schools - it is many schools. Additional classes from a very early age in languages and maths are almost standard (music, art and any form of physical activity less so).

It begs the question of how closely attitudes to education for each generation are linked to future economic fortunes?
I don't disagree with this at all. Education is or should be part of any nation's industrial policy.

Here in the US in some sense it's an issue that has both been ignored and exploited.

But let me play devil's advocate. Do these systems produce innovative, critical thinking? From where will the next Microsoft or Apple or Google emege?

...my my ..ten posts, two stars.
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:25 AM   #104
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I don't disagree with this at all. Education is or should be part of any nation's industrial policy.

Here in the US in some sense it's an issue that has both been ignored and exploited.

But let me play devil's advocate. Do these systems produce innovative, critical thinking? From where will the next Microsoft or Apple or Google emege?

...my my ..ten posts, two stars.
Well, considering that the bulk of the Silicon Valley IT boom came from the minds of Indian and Chinese H1B programmers, I'd say 'yes'. I think this criticism of Far Eastern education is somewhat overstated. I'd wager the next wave of innovation will in fact occur in China--it's already starting--especially in green energy/technology.
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:47 AM   #105
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Who knows but there is plenty of potential for such companies/innovations to emerge in Asia:

1. education - rising standards, hard work and in in-flux of people with higher education and work experience in more developed countries such as the US. A melting pot of experience/backgrounds is fertile ground for innovation

2. government policies - as just one example, China is making a massive push into clean energy. Whether they become the innovators who come up with the new developments or the ones who take the innovations of others and develop them in the same way that Japan did with cars, remains to be seen but the will, the resources and the talent are there
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Old 10-19-2010, 08:27 AM   #106
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Well, considering that the bulk of the Silicon Valley IT boom came from the minds of Indian and Chinese H1B programmers, I'd say 'yes'. I think this criticism of Far Eastern education is somewhat overstated. I'd wager the next wave of innovation will in fact occur in China--it's already starting--especially in green energy/technology.
I wouldn't be too quick to wager against either Stout.

I agree that we benefit from the efforts and aspirations of all those mothers and fathers from around the world but consider also that part of the story is that they come here for learning as well.

My observation is that the Far East innovates in the areas of production / manufacturing. To me it remains to be seen if they can come up with the next big thing.
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Old 10-19-2010, 08:37 AM   #107
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That is the key. Children learn by example. If they see their 'rents watching TV all the time that is what they will do and do it well because they want to be accepted and be like their 'rents. If their 'rents read and take an active part in their education that is what they will want to succeed in and do.
+1

My parents are very well-rounded. Hard-working, LBTMs, and athletic. My father was an engineer, and now my sister is an engineering professor with her PhD. I have a post-graduate degree in finance. We played high school and college sports, and still play a variety of sports 20+ years later. We are also big savers and will likely retire early like my parents did.

People wonder how I got to be so proficient at crossword puzzles, and it's because I grew up sitting with my Dad on Sunday watching my beloved Jets and doing the New York Times Sunday puzzle....starting when I was about 8!

You know, when I write things like this....I really think about how wonderful my parents are...
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:04 AM   #108
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Oh, no doubt they came here for the learning as well. And I think they've taken the strengths of our educational system (post secondary) back with them--while retaining that in their primary and secondary which does such a great job of instilling the basics.

I wouldn't sell China short on innovation. The government realizes that is a missing piece of their puzzle and they are spending massively on it--much more than we are. It's already starting to pay real dividends.


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I wouldn't be too quick to wager against either Stout.

I agree that we benefit from the efforts and aspirations of all those mothers and fathers from around the world but consider also that part of the story is that they come here for learning as well.

My observation is that the Far East innovates in the areas of production / manufacturing. To me it remains to be seen if they can come up with the next big thing.
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:32 AM   #109
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I'm finding this thread interesting.

I come from a country (NZ) whose middle class is suffering from the same issues as the US described in posts above but I live in a region (Asia) where the middle class is growing rapidly. The differences in attitudes to education between the two countries are dramatic - in HK the competition to get children into good schools is intense. This is not just a few elite schools - it is many schools. Additional classes from a very early age in languages and maths are almost standard (music, art and any form of physical activity less so).

It begs the question of how closely attitudes to education for each generation are linked to future economic fortunes?

It's a modern-day drama summed up in an ancient Chinese adage: "Wealth never survives three generations." Nineteenth-century Americans updated it to read, "From shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations."

You should use the above to impress your HK friends. When you think about it; the explanation for the current financial problems can be found in the quote.
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:58 AM   #110
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Excellent thread.

Ha
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:54 AM   #111
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I wouldn't sell China short on innovation. The government realizes that is a missing piece of their puzzle and they are spending massively on it--much more than we are. It's already starting to pay real dividends.
China lack of protection of intellectual property is a real weakness IMHO - and potentially the flaw that holds them back.
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:58 AM   #112
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China lack of protection of intellectual property is a real weakness IMHO - and potentially the flaw that holds them back.
If and when China sees that IP rights are holding them back, only then will you start to see IP rights honored.

But when it's just the IP rights of foreigners, don't hold your breath waiting for enforcement.
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:24 PM   #113
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It's a modern-day drama summed up in an ancient Chinese adage: "Wealth never survives three generations." Nineteenth-century Americans updated it to read, "From shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations."
Along similar lines: :

Quote:
I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, [post 12 May 1780]
Adams Family Correspondence, 3:342
This has stuck in my memory, and gives expression to the hope that as a species we'll continue our journey from mere beasts of burden to thinkers of noble thoughts and builders of a more beautiful world.

Unfortunately, in the real world, a society of painters will starve and a neighboring industrial society will quickly subjugate them. So, the best we can hope for is a society of "doers" supporting a small group of "thinkers and feelers." Their children will swap places every few generations.

And a society that ever believes itself to be "above" violence puts itself in peril.

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Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who kept their swords.
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:41 PM   #114
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Dex, I took a quick look at some of those stats. At the PhD level, US Citizens and Permanent Residents dropped from 67.5% of degree earners to 56% over the ten year period 1997-2006.

Looking distinctly at Engineering PhD's for a moment and you see an even stronger story of the US lagging behind. In 1997, 3,332 Engineering PhDs were awarded to US Citizens and 2,555 were awarded to temporary immigrants. 10 years later in 2006, US students received only 2,485 PhDs, whereas foreign students received 4,272 PhDs. In other words, the last 10-15 years have shown us a continuing trend of foreign students increasing their enrollment in PhD programs at the expense of American students. In absolute terms and in proportions.
I'm a BS EE, and considered getting a PHD. The increase in base salary didn't justify the time/expense required to earn a PHD.

Foreign engineers usually use the PHD as a way to get their foot in the door in the US. The typical foreign PHD candidate will earn his BS in his home country and apply for PHD programs here in the US. Upon graduation, they are much more attractive to US companies with a PHD from a major US university, than they otherwise would have been with a BS from a foreign university.

The job prospects are only marginally better for US born PHDs than US born BS, assuming same discipline, etc. There may be a few research gigs that require a PHD, but those positions are very competitive and merely having a PHD is no guarantee that one will land such a position.
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:56 PM   #115
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I'm a BS EE, and considered getting a PHD. The increase in base salary didn't justify the time/expense required to earn a PHD.

Foreign engineers usually use the PHD as a way to get their foot in the door in the US. The typical foreign PHD candidate will earn his BS in his home country and apply for PHD programs here in the US. Upon graduation, they are much more attractive to US companies with a PHD from a major US university, than they otherwise would have been with a BS from a foreign university.

The job prospects are only marginally better for US born PHDs than US born BS, assuming same discipline, etc. There may be a few research gigs that require a PHD, but those positions are very competitive and merely having a PHD is no guarantee that one will land such a position.
The university business likes all those foreign students paying full tuition. Those students are much more profitable than those pesky Americans who get an education "on the cheap". This supports the University machinery and all it's staff.

Regarding BS versus PhD - It's about more than money. It's more like - What kind of work do you want to do and how do you envision spending your life.

The BS employees are the workers, the toilers. The PhD employees twirl their glass of fine white wine and propose.... Maybe we should have the BS employees implement the level 3 - discombobulation algorithm on the pronto - yes !
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:09 PM   #116
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The university business likes all those foreign students paying full tuition. Those students are much more profitable than those pesky Americans who get an education "on the cheap". This supports the University machinery and all it's staff.

Regarding BS versus PhD - It's about more than money. It's more like - What kind of work do you want to do and how do you envision spending your life.

The BS employees are the workers, the toilers. The PhD employees twirl their glass of fine white wine and propose.... Maybe we should have the BS employees implement the level 3 - discombobulation algorithm on the pronto - yes !
That's a terrible mischaracterization.

First, almost every PHD student that I knew was on at least partial scholarship and/or funded all or some of their tuition through working for the university (e.g. teaching undergraduate classes, lab advisor, etc.) Many, in fact, received a small stipend from the university.

Second, in industry, there is typically two ladders - (i) the management ladder and (ii) the technical ladder.

A PHD may elevate the ceiling in the technical ladder, but initially PHDs and BSs hire in as an entry level employee. What happens after that will be based largely on performance. Maybe the PHDs are given preference later on, but it is certainly not the master-peon relationship you suggest.
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:15 PM   #117
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The university business likes all those foreign students paying full tuition. Those students are much more profitable than those pesky Americans who get an education "on the cheap". This supports the University machinery and all it's staff.
Sorry to disappoint, this foreigner paid virtually nothing to get educated at a nice US university. I had to pay fees (<$1,000 a year) like everyone else but no tuition. My tuition was paid by someone else (graduate school? department? research adviser? or maybe it was part of my stipend as a teaching assistant? I can't remember). It was standard for all foreign graduate students in my department.
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:17 PM   #118
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That's a terrible mischaracterization.

First, almost every PHD student that I knew was on at least partial scholarship and/or funded all or some of their tuition through working for the university (e.g. teaching undergraduate classes, lab advisor, etc.) Many, in fact, received a small stipend from the university.
So, you think MasterBlaster should have said "The universities love all that free labor they get from foreign students."

Do the foreign students qualify for low in-state tuition at state schools?
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:22 PM   #119
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That's a terrible mischaracterization.

First, almost every PHD student that I knew was on at least partial scholarship and/or funded all or some of their tuition through working for the university (e.g. teaching undergraduate classes, lab advisor, etc.) Many, in fact, received a small stipend from the university.

Second, in industry, there is typically two ladders - (i) the management ladder and (ii) the technical ladder.

A PHD may elevate the ceiling in the technical ladder, but initially PHDs and BSs hire in as an entry level employee. What happens after that will be based largely on performance. Maybe the PHDs are given preference later on, but it is certainly not the master-peon relationship you suggest.
Oh I beleive that foreign students are indeed more profitable than American students. Don't forget American students also work for the university.

And per the BS/PhD thing. It's not so much the master-peon things as the job assignements handed out to each.

You'd tell the BS employee - get those 548 calibrations spec-ed out and a report on my desk by Thursday.

The PhD would be invited to evaluate competing corrections for cross-talk capacitance's induced in the calibration process.

Which position would you rather have ?
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Old 10-19-2010, 02:44 PM   #120
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Oh I beleive that foreign students are indeed more profitable than American students. Don't forget American students also work for the university.

And per the BS/PhD thing. It's not so much the master-peon things as the job assignements handed out to each.

You'd tell the BS employee - get those 548 calibrations spec-ed out and a report on my desk by Thursday.

The PhD would be invited to evaluate competing corrections for cross-talk capacitance's induced in the calibration process.

Which position would you rather have ?
That's probably fair - PHDs may very well receive more interesting assignments. However, 3+ years of earning potential is a lot to give up for marginally better assignments.

Many students make a financial decision to enter the workforce instead of pursuing their PHDs, and I don't believe that makes them less competent engineers/scientists.

My point is that comparing the domestic/foreign PHD candidates churned out on a yearly basis is probably not a fair metric in which to judge our technical competency.
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