On Radio Derb recently I have been promoting a theme of "academic nationalism." Higher education, I have argued, is a precious resource; and our own citizens should have first call on it.
As I observed in the February 17th podcast:
It's not as if the universities who admit all these foreign students are doing it from high morality and a sincere desire to improve the world. They're doing it for money: foreign students pay full tuition. It's not an open-hearted spirit of national generosity: it's a cash racket. [Ker-ching.]
So there's another action point on immigration for you, Mr President: a ceiling on student visas. And here's a slogan to go with it: "American schools for American citizens!"
I enlarged on this theme March 17th, commenting on an article in The Economist's bimonthly supplement about Chinese students at the University of Iowa:
The Chinese students are so numerous now, they feel no need to engage with local Americans, they just hang out with each other. The rich ones are very rich, way richer than the rubes of Iowa City, and they flaunt it. Cheating is epidemic, with a whole industry in China supplying academic papers.
Here's a different angle on the theme of academic nationalism.
A reader sent me this story from CNN about a New Jersey teenager who has been accepted at all eight Ivy League universities.
Ifeoma White-Thorpe said she was shaking when she got the eighth acceptance letter.
"I was like, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, like this might be eight out of eight and I clicked it and it said 'Congratulations' and I was like oh my goodness!" White-Thorpe told CNN affiliate WABC-TV.
White-Thorpe, a senior and student government president at Morris Hills High School in Rockaway, has to choose between Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Dartmouth and Brown.
She wants to study biology and pursue a career in global health. [New Jersey teen gets accepted by all 8 Ivy League schools by Doug Criss; CNN, April 5 2017.]
This doesn't happen often, the CNN story tells us.
Students getting into all of the Ivies is a monumental feat, but it's happened to a handful of teens over the past couple of years — Kwasi Enin in 2014, Harold Ekeh in 2015 and Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna and Kelly Hyles last year.
These are all black kids who excel in science subjects. As desperate as universities are to admit black students, they are double desperate to admit blacks pursuing STEM subjects.
I don't think it is any very cynical asperity on my part to assume that this fully explains the fact of all five named students being black, a thing that would otherwise be wildly improbable. (With only one American resident in eight black, the chance of five picked at random all being black is one in 32,768, about 0.003 percent.)
Note further that none of the five has American slave ancestry. All are first- or second-generation immigrants: four from West Africa, one from Guyana.
I'm not going to feign indignation on behalf of black Americans, who in my opinion get far too many breaks, favors and preferences. I am, though, going to ask: Why aren't they indignant about this?