The apparent need to bring more skilled workers to the United States from other countries doesn't speak well for the American education system.
What does it say about the American education system or the priority Americans place on education when U.S. House and Senate committees approve similar bills to let additional thousands of skilled foreign workers come to the United States to fill job vacancies here.
Separate bills approved by House and Senate committees would allow an additional 30,000 extra temporary visas for foreign computer programmers, health care workers and other professionals needed by U.S. businesses and apparently not being supplied by American schools.
According to an Associated Press report, the congressional action responds to pleas from Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp and other high-technology companies for foreign workers to fill labor shortages.
Current law provides 65,000 temporary visas a year to let skilled foreign workers work in the U.S. The Immigration and Naturalization Service announced May 11 that the 65,000 visas under the so-called H-1B program for 1998 had been depleted at least in part by demand in the high-technology sector.
There are not enough Americans to fill the need or not enough Americans with the skills and knowledge needed to handle these high-tech positions.
Recent stories have told how American youngsters are not measuring up to their counterparts in other countries in subjects such as mathematics, and if this indeed is the case, the shortages of skilled U.S. workers are likely to become more severe in the years to come.
Why is it that youngsters in other countries, with far fewer advantages than American youths and with far less money spent on education on a per-capita basis seem to do better in school?
Something is seriously wrong when the U.S. has to bring in thousands and thousands of skilled foreign workers because there are not enough similarly skilled American workers. It is not a good advertisement for the American education system.