"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Donald Trump and the bogus shortage of STEM workers.

S. Krashen, May 1, 2016

"... the impending shortage of scientists and engineers is one of the longest running hoaxes in the country" (Gerald Bracey, 2009).

"Over the years, (Bill) Gates has been a leading advocate for increasing the H-1B visa and green cards in the belief that the U.S. isn't producing enough high-skilled workers."  http://www.computerworld.com/article/2490207/technology-law-regulation/u-s--senator-blasts-microsoft-s-h-1b-push-as-it-lays-off-18-000-workers.html

It is clear that despite the outcry from the business world, there is no shortage of STEM workers (eg Is the U.S. losing the tech race? By Michael S. Teitelbaum, April 20, 2014, Los Angeles Times op-ed.) and in particular no shortage of computer science trained workers (No shortage of computer science graduates. http://tinyurl.com/jdht2mn).

Many people have concluded that the reason companies say there is a shortage in these areas is so they can bring in STEM workers from other countries and pay them less.  Several candidates for president have made reasonable proposals about this situation. One of them is (gasp) Donald Trump, who comments on the H-1B visa, which allows foreign workers to be employed temporarily in the US in certain special areas.

"(Trump's) proposal has two basic components. First is to increase the H-1B "prevailing wage" so the programme can no longer be used for cheap labour. The prevailing wage is the minimum wage that an employer must pay an H-1B worker. Right now that wage is set far below the actual wages paid to American workers. As a result, employers have a profit motive to replace Americans with H-1Bs. The second component of the proposal is to require employers to actively recruit American workers before turning to the H-1B programme. Both of these proposals would fix the H-1B so that it works as it is intended: to fill skills gaps in the American labour market. These proposals are consistent with those introduced by policymakers that span the ideological spectrum, from liberal Democratic Senators Richard Durbin and Bernie Sanders to conservative Republican Senators Charles Grassley, Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions. "

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