(1) a nation whose students value science, technology, engineering and mathematics
(2) a nation whose students are taught that diversity, CRT, white supremacy are most important
In the first you’ll have some bright whipper-snappers.
In the second you mix together your best and brightest with your stupid, moronic dregs not interested in learning and get a group of kids who are tolerant and stupid, to boot.
Percy Deift of New York University, Svetlana Jitomirskaya of Georgia Institute of Technology and University of California Irvine, and Sergiu Klainerman of Princeton University – all academic math scholars who arrived in the United States as young immigrants – wrote at Quillette in August of their concern that the nation they are “proud” to call their home is quickly losing its “dominant position” in the mathematical sciences.
Keeping in mind China’s “status as an authoritarian country,” the mathematicians warned Americans:
The drawbacks of American education policies are so pronounced that US schools are now losing their ability to attract elite scholars despite the fact that the United States offers these academics a freer and more democratic environment.
The authors cited several reasons for what they view as the devastating decline of America in mathematical scholarship.
First, the state of math in K-12 public schools has resulted in few American children who are prepared for STEM careers, they explained.
“This leaves us increasingly dependent on a constant inflow of foreign talent, especially from mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea, and India,” the math scholars wrote, noting a 2015 survey, conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools and the Graduate Record Examinations Board, that found about 55 percent of all participating graduate students in mathematics, computer sciences, and engineering at American schools were found to be non-U.S citizens.
Similarly, the writers’ observed, the National Foundation for American Policy estimated in 2017 that 81 percent of full-time graduate students in electrical engineering at American schools were international students, as were 79 percent of full-time computer science graduate students.
“In our field, mathematics, we find that at most top departments in the United States, at least two-thirds of the faculty are foreign born,” they wrote. “Similar patterns may be observed in other STEM disciplines.”
Second, the national focus on social justice and diversity in K-12 schools, “however well-intentioned, has had the unfortunate effect of weakening the connection between merit and scholastic admission,” the authors asserted, noting such a priority “has served (sometimes indirectly) to discriminate against certain groups—mainly Asian Americans.”
The math scholars explained the irony associated with states, such as California, that are touting efforts to fight against what is claimed to be “racist” math:
The social-justice rhetoric used to justify these diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs is often completely at odds with the reality one observes on campuses. The concept of fighting “white supremacy,” in particular, doesn’t apply to the math field, since American-born scholars of all races now collectively represent a small (and diminishing) minority of the country’s academic STEM specialists.
With specific reference to the California revised Mathematics Framework – that seeks to, above all, do away with “racism” in math – the authors wrote that, if adopted, the plan would, in fact, “do away with any tracking or differentiation of students up to the 11th grade”:
In order to achieve what the authors call “equity” in math education, the framework would effectively close the main pathway to calculus in high school to all students except those who take extra math outside school—which, in practice, means students from families that can afford enrichment programs (or those going to charter and private schools).
The California framework’s intention to focus on what is termed “data science” while it minimizes algebra will leave students “completely unprepared for most STEM undergraduate degrees,” the math scholars warned, troubled by what they view as a destructive pattern even at the national level.
“[A]t many of our leading academic and research institutions, including the National Academies of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health, scientific excellence is being supplanted by diversity as the determining factor for eligibility in regard to prizes and other distinctions,” they wrote.
The mathematicians took note as well of how the “education establishment” in the U.S. maintains “an almost complete lock on the content taught in our schools, with little input from the university math community.”
Observing the “constant stream of ill-advised and dumbed-down ‘reforms’” that have pervaded American public schools, the math scholars described them as having “served to degrade the teaching of mathematics to such an extent that it has become difficult to distinguish a student who is capable from one who is not.”