When 1 + 1 don't add up

A couple of items on the wire to go with your morning bagel and coffee.

A couple of items on the wire to go with your morning bagel and coffee:

At the University of Colorado, a researcher found that tight restrictions on student visas for foreign graduate students will accelerate "the erosion of America's global dominance in innovation."

Meanwhile, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released findings from its own survey that gave mathematics students in the United States lousy grades. American kids finished in the bottom half of the OECD survey of 40 nations as the U.S. finished 28 overall (behind such heavyweights like Liechtenstein!).

Taken together, these two findings suggest that the U.S. high tech business has a big challenge on its hands. If we're not producing enough home-grown talent and the folks with the needed skills are being kept out, how do you bridge the gap?

One course of action not supported by the Colorado study is the maintenance of restrictions on student visas. Keith Maskus, who authored the report, concludes that increasing the number of foreign graduate students in the United States would lead to a concomitant increase in the number of patent applications in this country.

And how about this tid-bit? When it comes to U.S.-born graduate students, Maskus contends that American-born students tend to choose other professions outside of the sciences and engineering. "There is still a much higher return for American students to learn to run a company or become lawyers," he said.

Food for thought.

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