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Education Programming Give Us More H-1B Visas Or the Kids Get Hurt 271

Posted by Soulskill
from the send-in-S.W.A.T. dept.
theodp writes "Fresh off their wildly-hyped Hour of Code, headed to Washington last Thursday where H-1B visas were prescribed as the cure for U.S. kids' STEM ills. 'The availability of computer science to all kids is an issue that warrants immediate and aggressive action,' told Congress. "Comprehensive immigration reform efforts that tie H-1B visa fees to a new STEM education fund,' suggested co-founder Hadi Partovi, is 'among the policies that we feel can be changed to support the teaching and learning of more computer science in K-12 schools. We hope you can be allies in our endeavors on Capitol Hill.' Also testifying with Partovi was inventor and US FIRST founder Dean Kamen, who also pitched the benefits of H-1B visas (PDF). 'We strongly encourage Congress to pass legislation that directs H-1B visa fees to enable underserved inner-city and rural schools to participate in FIRST,' Kamen testified. 'Specifically, these fees should support efforts to enable underserved inner-city and rural schools to participate in FIRST.'"
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  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:37AM (#45964171) Homepage

    So let me get this straight... wants to tie H-1B visa fees to education programs, and somehow that's twisted into the headline saying they want more H-1Bs?

    It sounds more to me like they're saying "if you're going to bring in a foreign tech worker because Americans aren't good enough, you're going to pay for American STEM programs so Americans are good enough in the future". I can't really object to that idea.

  • by theodp (442580) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:59AM (#45964387)

    From the link to Mark Zuckerberg's PAC: "Modifications to the guest worker program must also include an increase in the number of H-1B visas". Many of's backers are also backers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:06AM (#45964469)

    If H-1B visa fees are earmarked for education then more visas means more fees means more education. So yes it's implied that more H-1B visas would be better. For the children, of course.

  • by Sez Zero (586611) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:27AM (#45964707) Journal
    Ok, I read the testimony.

    You are right, Kamen specifically didn't ask for more visas. Instead, he asked that the visa fees, at least in part, be directed to his program, FIRST. TL;DR: Give me money.

    Partovi barely mentions visas, but also wants part of the fees to go to a new STEM education fund and wants changes to E-Rate (internet/telecomm to school libraries). He's got his fingers in a lot of pies, so skeptically I'm assuming one of them would benefit from unspecified E-Rate "changes".

    Jona, a prof at Northwestern, basically wants more scientists to be involved in teaching STEM. No visa mention.

    Cornwall, an ME, writes like an ME and doesn't mention visas; instead focuses on education.

    So, yes, there's a lot of spin in the headline. Because headline.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @11:38AM (#45965481)

    Hahahahahahaha, funny. So, that means that big business leans liberal??? Hahahahahahahaha

    No, it means that in America, there's not much difference between "liberal" and "conservative", esp. when you look at the politicians on both sides.

    The Democrats push for "immigration reform" and lax policies because their constituents have been brainwashed into thinking unlimited immigration is a great thing somehow ("we need to reunite families!!!"), and push for this when they have power, but their real motivation is to help big corporations import cheap labor. The Republicans speak publicly against "immigration reform" to their constituents usually, because they're generally more anti-immigration, but then when they're in office they push for easier immigration and laxer policies, because their real motivation is to help big corporations import more cheap labor, but then they blame it on the Democrats. This of course is exactly what the Democrats do for other issues, where they do the same thing as the Republicans, to help their corporate masters, but then blame the Republicans for it. So we have two parties, doing mostly the same thing, and screwing over middle-class Americans, while keeping us distracted with a divide-and-conquer strategy so we won't vote for anyone outside these corrupt parties, because then "the wrong lizard may get in".

  • by BigDaveyL (1548821) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @12:07PM (#45965807) Homepage

    This type of thing is so frustrating.

    For example, I applied for a job recently that wanted 1-3 years of Linux admin experience. While I never had formal paid experience, I do have 15 years of:

    • taking several college courses in the subject matter
    • my masters project was a sys admin heavy
    • I attend the local lug and help people and have given several technical talks over the years
    • I volunteer as a sys admin at the local humane society that has 100 employees, more volunteers, processes 10,000+ animals a year and has a fully staffed vet clinic
    • I use Linux at my day job and do a bit of shell scripting there (I'm one of the go to guys it seems)
    • Use Linux as my primary OS
    • Have set up/manage servers for my own/others personal usage
    • Have attended conferences on my own dime to learn more about things
    • More things I'm probably forgetting

    Somehow, I don't know why they can't extract/find 1 year of experience in there. I can understand if they were asking for 5 or 10 years, but the bar seems low. In other words, what technical day to day tasks does someone in the job face, that I can't handle or figure out? Judge me on my actual technical merits, not something arbitrary.

    Pay is not an issue either. Their top pay would represent something like a 40% increase from what I make now, which I do not expect to get. They list no floor. I would be estatic to get even a 5%-10% increase, but can understand that I may have to take the same money or a slight pay cut because of the experience factor (which is fine since I get by well on my current salary).

    Of course, the job listing states the team is overwhelmed with work, but the job has been posted over a month. One would think they may have to re-adjust expectations in order to fill the job and get some relief.

Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.