By Jose Pagliery, CNNMoney
New York (CNNMoney) - An immigration system overhaul might finally address a growing problem: America's brain drain.
Smart foreigners who study at U.S. universities - often at taxpayer expense through scholarships - face a tough fight after graduation if they want to stay in the country.
Many share the experience of Shailesh Deshpande, who lost his fight to stay after graduating from Virginia Tech. He returned home to India and is now launching a company there.
"Don't hate me when I take jobs away from U.S. shores," he said. "Blame your government for it."
There's fear U.S. immigration laws could cripple the nation's economic growth. That's why a group of senators this week suggested creating a fast track to award green cards to foreign students in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math).
The current system sets quotas that limit individual countries to no more than 7% of all green cards. That makes it harder for applicants from India or China, compared to applicants from Belgium or Iceland.
Immigrants make up a surprisingly large share of STEM students in Master's and Ph.D programs: more than 40%. The sheer number has ballooned to 205,600 students as of 2011, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement records.
Although federal officials say it's difficult to accurately track how many of them leave, companies and colleges that interact with foreign students say they are increasingly being driven out of the country.
New York (CNNMoney) - Workers across America are experiencing completely different versions of the jobs recovery, depending on their education level.
The recovery is favoring the college educated, but leaving behind those with a high school diploma or less."In the recession and recovery, those with the most education are hurt the least and recover the fastest," said Anthony Carnavale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
Workers with the highest level of education - including master's, doctorates and professional degrees - are a relatively small part of the population, yet they're experiencing the fastest employment gains.
About 1.1 million more of them say they had jobs in 2012, compared to the bottom of the job market in 2010 - a 6.7% gain - according to Labor Department data.
Meanwhile, workers with bachelor's degrees - a much larger group - have reported 5% employment gains.
That contrasts starkly with workers at the opposite end of the education spectrum, who are not only reporting they have fewer jobs, but are also leaving the workforce in droves.
By Carl Azuz, CNN
(CNN) - "America's young people stand last in line for jobs."
That's the warning from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private charity that aims to assist underprivileged children in the U.S. The organization recently released a report that says youth employment is at its lowest level since the second World War.
The foundation says that only about half of Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 had jobs in 2011. And when you look at the numbers for the teenagers in that group, 25% percent of them were employed last year - a significant drop from the year 2000, when 46% of teenagers had jobs.
The lingering effects of the Great Recession are largely to blame here. Entry-level jobs at restaurants and clothing retailers have increasingly gone to more experienced, more qualified workers, according to the study. This has left young people without a paycheck and without the workplace experience that could help them later in their careers.
It also places a burden on taxpayers, as the federal and local governments spend more to support young, unemployed workers.
The foundation lists a number of recommendations for addressing the issue. You can view the full report here.
By Amy Roberts and Caitlin Stark, CNN Library
(CNN) - It’s back to school time. Starting dates around the U.S. vary by state and district: Some schools started on different dates in August, while others start this week. As we embark on the 2012-2013 academic year, here’s a numerical snapshot of education in the U.S.
54.7 million – Number of students enrolled in elementary and secondary schools, both public and private, in the U.S. in 2011.
3.7 million – Elementary and secondary school teachers working in U.S. schools in 2011.
$11,467 – The estimated average amount a typical public school will spend on each student in 2012-2013.
31.8 million – Number of children who received free or reduced price lunches through the National School Lunch Program in 2011.
by John Martin, CNN
Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
(CNN) - Chicago's mayor and the city's teachers union have come up with a plan for a longer school day for students: hire additional teachers, but don't extend the school day for most teachers. We asked our readers how this might impact students. The forum shifted from the impact on students to a lively debate over how hard teachers work compared to other professions.
Some readers questioned whether longer school days would benefit students, with some offering opinions on how a longer day could be structured:
Felix: This is only the 1st step....IMO the trend should be towards what the countries that have surpassed the US have done – longer Days...less Summer vacation if any at all (Some school systems don't have a summer break anymore...just weeks of hiatus during the summer), Less television, more after school sports/activities and more teachers.
Cindy: As a teacher, the days are long enough, what we need is a longer school year. More contact days. Students lose ground over the summer breaks (which 200 yrs ago were so they could work on farms...I don't think we need that farm help now.) Longer school years will allow more remediation time that is needed with some students or more time for deeper teaching of intense subjects.
By John Sepulvado, CNN
Editor's note: Embed America is a partnership between CNN Radio and CNN iReport. This series tells the story of the 2012 U.S. presidential election through the people most critical to the campaigns: the voters. CNN Radio is traveling across the country to interview iReporters on election issues close to their hearts. These issues were named important by iReporters during phase 1 of the iReport Debate.
East St. Louis, Illinois (CNN) – The East St. Louis School District has some of the worst reading and math test scores in the state. That’s according to state and district statistics. Only ten percent of students are proficient in reading at their grade level. And for at least one resident, 17-year-old Louis Jones, it's a problem the presidential candidates need to address.
Meanwhile, education officials in Illinois are trying to take over the school district. The state cites systemic problems with corruption. Local board members disagree, and as is often the case with fights over power and money, both parties are now in court.FULL STORY
By Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III is the senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ on the Southside of Chicago.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Our current education policies are binding some of our children into a future in which their social fabric is tattered and sometimes broken.
Our nation has not truly committed to eliminating structural economic inequality since President Johnson’s war on poverty. With over 46 million Americans living in poverty, and nearly 50 million who are food insecure, and close to 25 million Americans looking for a job while we face record-breaking rates of foreclosure, we must provide a common foundation beneath which no child falls.
We can do this by giving all children fair and equal opportunities to learn. Yet, by failing to authorize a new federal education framework, Congress has left the states with two choices: to continue the failed policies of No Child Left Behind or apply for a waiver and be subjected to unrealistic requirements and reforms that aren’t much different.
As the parent of two children in public school I am saddened by the tone of the debate about the future of education and the lack of imagination in popular reform proposals that seem to be directed largely at privatizing our school systems. Many of the men and women shaping policy can afford private schools, tutors and have access to other well-funded supplemental programs, but it is our children in struggling communities who are becoming casualties of these education battles.
By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN
(CNN) – Brooklyn's I.S. 318 chess team was the best, always ranked among the top in the game. Some of its young members were just looking for something to keep busy, but a few expected it would help them pay for college or reach chess master status early in their teens.
Katie Dellamaggiore was about to shoot a documentary about the inner city school's unlikely success when she heard from the principal.
“‘Katie, I have some bad news,’” she remembered assistant principal and chess coach John Galvin said. “‘The school got hit - we got hit with some really bad budget cuts. I don’t know if you can make your movie anymore. I don’t know if we’re going to nationals or any of that.’”
“'Are you serious? How is this possible? You guys are the best, how can you not have the money?'" Dellamaggiore said.
“We have no choice but to make this movie. This is the movie now.”
And make it they did: “Brooklyn Castle” will be released in theaters October 19, Producers Distribution Agency announced Thursday. The distribution initiative previously released three other films, including the Academy Award-nominated documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop." Theatrical release is a major feat for an independent documentary, but the film has already built buzz at festivals, including SXSW, where it won an audience award and was acquired for remake by Sony Pictures and Scott Rudin, and at the Newport Beach Film Festival, where it shared an audience award and at the Brooklyn Film Festival, where Dellamaggiore won the award for best new director.
The film follows the school's chess coaches, team members and some of its recent alumni as they face the complications of modern tweenhood, from attention deficit disorder, to school elections, to scholarship competition, to parents who work long hours, to parents who aren’t there at all. Some try to win as individuals, some just want what's best for the team and some are trying to spare the program from budget cuts. Of course, this is chess – the sport of solving problems.
By Carl Azuz, CNN
(CNN) – The U.S. economy is tightening its grip on Americans’ options when it comes to paying for college.
And while parents proportionally contribute the most money toward an undergraduate’s degree, the amount they’re contributing has dropped dramatically in recent years.
The information was revealed in Sallie Mae’s National Study of College Students and Parents, which was conducted by Ipsos and found that Americans are relying on a variety of sources for college funding.
For the 2011 – 2012 academic year, the study found that parent and student income and savings combined to make up 40 percent of the total cost of college.
Borrowing by students and parents made up 27 percent. Contributions from relatives and friends added up to 4 percent.
But grants and scholarships made up the single biggest piece of the pie at 29 percent. And what may raise some concern among the nation’s college hopeful is a recent drop in the proportion of families that got scholarship money.
By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN
(CNN) - Public school systems spent an average of $10,615 per student in the 2010 fiscal year, an increase of 1.1% from the previous year, according to Public Education Finances: 2010, a U.S. Census Bureau report released today.
Washington, D.C., schools topped per-pupil spending at $18,667; Utah was lowest, at $6,064. Public schools systems spent $602.6 billion in 2010, a 0.4% decrease since 2009 - the first time the spending level has gone down since the Census Bureau began to keep track.
Although the amount spent per student has steadily crept up in recent decades, it can vary widely based on cost of living and operating. Of the 50 largest school systems, New York City School District spent the most per student in 2010 at $19,597.
Make no mistake: Spending a lot of money doesn't mean a kid is getting a good education, and spending less doesn't mean it's bad. Per-pupil spending comes up often because it's among the few easy-to-compare measurements that crosses school, district and state lines, said Matthew Chingos, a researcher with Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy.
“Per-pupil funding is a pretty terrible measure of quality of education,” Chingos said. “In some case, it matters, but sometimes it’s hard to find evidence it matters.”