Our smartest students come from immigrant families, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The children of immigrants are becoming the top math and science students in the United States, dominating academic competitions and representing the strongest hope the nation has of keeping an edge in high-tech and biomedical fields, according to a study released Monday.
According to the National Foundation for American Policy, which backs employment-related visas, 60 percent of the finalists of the Intel Science Talent Search, 65 percent of the U.S. Math Olympiad’s top scorers and 46 percent of U.S. Physics Team members are the children of immigrants. “Seven of the top 10 award winners at the 2004 Intel Science Talent Search were immigrants or their children. In 2003, three of the top four awardees were foreign-born.”
These young brains are not the children of the huddled masses. Typically, their parents are engineers and scientists.
Every year, the San Jose Mercury News runs photos and a profile of the valedictorians of local high schools. I’d guess the majority come from immigrant families, mostly Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Iranian and Russian. It’s rare to see a Spanish name. Here’s the most recent “best and brightest” page. (It takes all summer to do all the schools, many of which have multiple valedictorians.) The names are: Hsu, Bhople, May, Lin, Lai, Tran, Allen and Doan. Maybe not representative. Let’s try another one: Slagle, Lee, Zhang, Gottipatti, Harper, Avila, Claus, Dao, Jebens, Koval, Johnson, Kapulkin, Sato, Jhatakia, Decena, Ashe, Tran, Nguyen, Pham, Dick. Two of the non-Asians appear to be from Russian immigrant families. One girl is Japanese-American, and therefore probably not from an immigrant family.