In a Washington Post story on offshore tutors — typically well-educated Indians helping American kids with math and science — a union official deplores:
“We don’t believe that education should become a business of outsourcing,” said Rob Weil, deputy director of educational issues at the American Federation of Teachers. “When you start talking about overseas people teaching children, it just doesn’t seem right to me.”
Quality control isn’t the real issue, writes Martin Davis of Gadfly.
Just what “doesn’t seem right” isn’t clear. But here’s a good guess: Weil, like a lot of Americans, is realizing that there are many capable people outside our borders. And they’re not just making the shirts we wear and the cars we drive. They’re competing with educated Americans. And for those with a stake in keeping control over the teaching profession (and by this I mean the unions, not the teachers they represent), that’s a frightening proposition. When it comes to free trade and globalization, all unions stand stalwartly opposed.
Most offshore tutors specialize in math, chemistry, physics or biology, Davis notes. Cultural differences aren’t an issue.
My daughter’s geometry and calculus teacher was recruited from Bulgaria. Increasingly, if students are to learn from teachers who know math well, more will come from overseas.