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Out Sourcing America's Educational System

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I never knew that the Universities played this game. Or the better question is, am I the last one to find this out?

 

You know, this does raise questions as to what the Universities are up to.

 

I am starting to get very curious as to what Georgetown University is up to though, as well as others out there.

 

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http://www.thehoya.com/comment/reply/12346

 

Jan 12 2007

Like Doha’s ever-expanding skyline, Georgetown’s growing campus in this tiny, wealthy oil state is still, literally and figuratively, under construction.

 

As enrollment at the School of Foreign Service’s Qatar campus doubled to more than 40 students this year (sophomores now have a rowdy class of freshmen to pick on), administrators began drafting plans to replace its current, freakishly modern quarters with a giant Georgetown-specific building. And the Washington campus continued to ship over top faculty and staff — people like SFS dean Brendan Hill.

 

Along with the four other American universities in Qatar, Georgetown has made a deep, ostensibly permanent, commitment to Qatar and the Middle East.

 

Yet the main campus community’s response to its Qatari counterpart has been tepid and uncritical.

 

I think SFS-Qatar is a good thing, an interesting and unprecedented experiment that deserves time to work itself out. And it’s full of good, caring administrators that want it to succeed. I love the place.

 

But it’s time we started thinking about the tough questions it raises.

 

***

 

How did Qatar convince Georgetown to set up a smaller version of itself nearly 7,000 miles away? Money talks. Georgetown gets paid to be there.

 

Working through something called the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, Qatar’s government is investing billions of dollars — yes, billions — in a place called Education City, the giant complex housing the emirate’s American universities.

 

In addition to covering the entire budget for Georgetown’s Qatar operations, the Qatar Foundation gave the main campus more than $1 million extra last year, a number expected to rise annually, and it’s paying to build Georgetown’s new Doha building.

 

SFS Dean Robert Gallucci told me last fall that the cash is compensation for the human cost the main campus incurs (losing top professors to Doha, and all the time D.C.-based administrators spend on the phone, for instance).

 

But it begs the question: Are we OK with being bribed? And if we are, are there better ways Georgetown could use its money in Qatar?

 

Disturbingly, the Qatar Foundation won’t release its annual budget, nor will it reveal the details of its agreements with American universities (neither will Georgetown).

 

But unlike the main campus, SFS-Qatar seems to have a lot of money. And it sometimes uses it in, well, interesting ways.

 

For instance, it recently spent thousands of dollars flying out some main campus students helping out with a Model United Nations conference to Doha. SFS-Q housed them in a five-star hotel and let them pig out on all the room service they wanted (in the interest of full disclosure, I was one of those students).

 

And the cost of the annual Model United Nations conference, for which SFS-Q is subsidizing the expenses of elite high schools throughout the Middle East?

 

Administrators declined to comment on the record, but a conference I attended last year included free hotel rooms and ornate dinners. Thousands and thousands of dollars.

 

***

 

Here are more questions: Is SFS-Q only a thin reflection of Georgetown? If so, can we fix that?

 

Although administrators are trying hard, students at SFS-Q have an extremely limited schedule of classes with little access to provocative electives taken for granted on the main campus.

 

And in a country where homosexuality is illegal, there is no Qatar version of GU Pride, nor is there likely ever to be. There is no Georgetown-Israel Alliance, no Corp, no Saxatones.

 

The Hoya barely ever shows up, and the SFS-Q newspaper, The DoHoya, has basically died.

 

Several students visited the main campus last year, but now SFS-Q has inexplicably slashed its budget to fly students to the mother campus.

 

In short, there are a lot of things missing from the Qatar experience. There always will be, and the students know it.

 

Many classes are the same as in Washington, but it’s not the same education, no matter what administrators say.

 

On a satellite campus thousands of miles away, however, there’s just no easy way to fix this.

 

There are other giant elephants administrators must see but haven’t publicly confronted.

 

SFS-Q is theoretically open to anyone, but in practice mostly elites make it to Education City, and about 10 percent of SFS-Q is made up of members of Qatar’s ruling family.

 

Yet most of Qatar is filled with desperately poor laborers who are often treated poorly and will never have the chance to go to college.

 

And while Qatar’s current emir has gradually liberalized the country’s laws, opened Qatar to investment and seems like a good guy, he took power in a coup and is far from a democrat. Amnesty International says 39 political prisoners remain jailed in the tiny emirate.

 

The country sponsors women’s conferences, but the constitution says women can’t accede to the throne.

 

Two final questions: Is Georgetown talking to Qatar about all this? Does it have a responsibility to do so?

 

***

 

SFS-Qatar is a grand experiment and nobody really knows where it is headed.

 

While there are many unanswered questions — some quite troubling — the campus also has great potential and we should be proud of it. We should want it to succeed. I know I do.

 

It could one day be our window to the real Middle East and Qatar’s window into American culture and thought.

 

Maybe it can even change attitudes there and simultaneously change the way we think.

 

The hard work Georgetown administrators have put into SFS-Q is impressive and the attitude of Doha’s Hoyas even more so. Despite all the challenges, they want to feel like they’re a part of Georgetown and they ought to feel that way.

 

But first, you have some questions to ask. And Georgetown has a duty to answer.

 

Moises D. Mendoza is a senior in the School of Foreign Service and is a former editor in chief of The Hoya. Days On The Hilltop will appear every Tuesday.

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Guest Luke

Most major universities have an "Office of International Programs." University of Maryland and American University have international campuses. Most start out as study abroad programs for those intrested in learning the host country's language and culture. I actually benifited from these type of programs. I did Semester at Sea and a language study program in Mexico. But, it appears that these international programs evolve into mini degree universities that offer a growing variety of Bachelor diplomas. I wonder about whether satellite campuses are good for the United States educational industry. What is to stop a host country from buying or kicking out an American Educational Institution after the infrastructure has been put into place. In my opinion, the greatest asset America has is the importation of bright young minds. Most of our university engineering and science students are not even American. We are lucky that many of these students want to stay in the USA after college. With the loss of the manufacturing industry we cannot afford to lose the educational industry the same way.

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Guest human_*

With Globalization here to stay, we are going to have to take a serious look at where we are headed, and it's full impact on our society.

 

I'm also in agreement with you.

 

Is Out Sourcing of the Educational System the next wave? <Lots of Questions, and very few answers>

 

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Most major universities have an "Office of International Programs." University of Maryland and American University have international campuses. Most start out as study abroad programs for those intrested in learning the host country's language and culture. I actually benifited from these type of programs. I did Semester at Sea and a language study program in Mexico. But, it appears that these international programs evolve into mini degree universities that offer a growing variety of Bachelor diplomas. I wonder about whether satellite campuses are good for the United States educational industry. What is to stop a host country from buying or kicking out an American Educational Institution after the infrastructure has been put into place. In my opinion, the greatest asset America has is the importation of bright young minds. Most of our university engineering and science students are not even American. We are lucky that many of these students want to stay in the USA after college. With the loss of the manufacturing industry we cannot afford to lose the educational industry the same way.

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Guest Mokhoff

One Venture Capitalist is worried that there is no longer a direct correlation between foreign students coming here for an education and staying in the U.S. to develop their entrepreneurial ideas. "In my observation, 15 out of 18 MBA students who graduated lately are going back to India. This was not the case five years ago," said Ann Winblad, co-founder and managing director of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.

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Last night I visited the Saudi embassy here in Washington, DC. I learned about the Saudi government’s plan to achieve greater progress in education, especially in science and technology. One of the communication officers discussed the formation of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Riyadh, would be open not only to Saudis but also to talented students from other Arab and Islamic countries. They are hopeful that it will become the M.I.T of the Middle East. With Billions of dollars of investment, I foresee that this University will become a magnet for students living in the Middle East and India.

 

http://www.kaust.edu.sa/

 

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) today announced a research and educational partnership in computational earth sciences and engineering.

 

"Many of the grand challenges facing our society involve the earth sciences, including climate change, water resources, environmental sustainability, clean energy, and natural hazard mitigation," Ghattas said. "Advanced computer modeling is required to best address these problems. We are excited about collaborating with KAUST to conduct forefront research on these and other problems in the earth sciences."

 

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is being built in Saudi Arabia as an international, graduate-level research university dedicated to inspiring a new age of scientific achievement in the Kingdom that will also benefit the region and the world. KAUST is the realization of a decades-long vision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

 

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is an international, graduate-level research university. Research at KAUST will focus on areas that are important to the future of Saudi Arabia, the region and the world and will take place in world-class facilities serving students, researchers and faculty in disciplines such as energy and environment, water desalination, industrial biotechnology, and scientific computing. All classes at KAUST will be conducted in English. KAUST will create and support the highest standards of scholarship through merit-based opportunities for men and women from around the world.

 

The University is being developed in a unique coastal location on the eastern shore of the Red Sea at Thuwal, approximately 80 kilometers north of Jeddah and approximately an hour north of Mecca in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

 

As an independent university governed by a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees and supported by a multi-billion dollar endowment, KAUST will convene the best minds - based strictly on merit - and create a collaborative community of passionate and talented researchers from around the world. The University will act as a catalyst for research that applies science and technology to problems of human need, social advancement, and economic development in Saudi Arabia, across the region, and around the globe.

 

The KAUST campus and surrounding community will incorporate a distinctive blend of traditional regional architecture and modern styles and amenities. The buildings will evoke ancient centers of learning within a context of high-tech science and research facilities. The University will be located in a secure environment featuring a well-planned and landscaped academic core and research laboratories, along with a seaside community and commercial center with a wide variety of shops and housing, from apartments to single-family homes. There will be parks, playgrounds, and schools for families with children; recreation amenities will include a golf course, yacht club, and marina. The campus will overlook the sea, and many of the residences will have waterfront views.

 

Our government leaders better wake up before we lose our greatest resource.

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Guest LAW

Remarks by the President in a Backyard Discussion in Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

Cavalier Residence

Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

The truth of the matter is, we used to have by far the best education system in the world. We were the first nation in the world to have compulsory public education. And so as people were moving off the farms, moving into the cities, moving into industry, suddenly they were able to get the training and the skills they needed for an advanced industrial economy.

 

And we had the best universities in the world, and the best colleges in the world, and we had the number one -- we ranked number one in the proportion of college graduates in the world. We now rank 12th -- and that’s just happened in a generation. We went from number one to number 12 in the number of college graduates we have.

 

Even folks who didn’t go to college still got a good education. My grandmother, she was an amazing woman. She passed away a couple of years ago. But she never went to college. She worked -- when my grandfather went off to World War II, she worked on an assembly line, making bombers. She was like Rosie the Riveter. And then when my grandfather came back, he got the GI Bill to go to college, but she didn’t get the GI Bill, so she went to work. She started off as a secretary; she ended up as a vice president at a bank in Hawaii.

 

And despite the fact that she hadn’t gone to college, she was so well prepared, in terms of math and reading and skills, that she could end up getting an executive position, working her way up from being a secretary.

 

Well, now we rank 21st in science education in the world, and we rank 25th in math education in the world. So the trendline is that we’re not at the top in terms of college graduates, we’re not at the top at science, we’re not at the top at math. We’ve got a third of our students who enroll who never graduate from high school. And all this means that not only is it bad for the young people who aren’t getting this education -- typically a high school grad gets paid about $10,000 less than a college grad, and over the course of a lifetime it means hundreds of thousand dollars in lost income -- but it’s also bad for the country as a whole because we don’t have as many engineers, we don’t have as many scientists, we’re not inventing the new products that are going to make all the difference in terms of how well we succeed.

 

So the reason I want to raise this is because there are a lot of issues we’ve been working on in Washington, a lot of them get a lot of attention, but something that hasn’t gotten as much attention is what we’ve been trying to do, working with states and local school districts over the last two years to make sure that we’re moving in a new direction in improving our education system.

 

Let me just tell you a couple of things that we’ve done.

 

First of all, we set up something called Race to the Top. And what we said was that if states wanted to get some additional money, some extra money to help their schools, they would have to compete for that money by showing us what it is that you’re doing to reform the school system so that you get excellent teachers, you have high standards, the schools are accountable; that you’re going after the lowest-performing schools and not just sort of skimming off the top.

 

And as a consequence of this competition called Race to the Top -- we had about $4 billion -- we’ve ended up seeing 32 states change their laws to reform the system so that the whole education structure works better for our kids and makes it more accountable and we start providing better training and better recruitment for our teachers and more professional development and additional resources.

 

So it’s been a big boost for education all across the country. Moving forward on a reform agenda, it doesn’t just dictate to states, here’s how you have to do everything, but it says here’s some criteria for success; if you have a plan to match that, then we’re going to help you. So that’s number one.

 

Number two, we’ve been helping make sure that more young people get early childhood education, because the studies show that if kids are well prepared when they get to school, then they are much likely to do better. If they know their colors and their numbers and their letters and they know how to sit still -- I remember when Malia and Sasha were young; that was a key training point.

 

And so early childhood education, when it’s well designed, makes a big difference, and we’ve been doing that.

 

Third thing we’ve been doing is focusing on higher education. Now, it turns out that we’ve got -- the lottery scholarship program here in New Mexico is terrific, but we’ve got a whole lot of states all across the country and a lot of young people who still rely on Pell Grants and student loan programs in order to finance their overall education.

 

And what we’ve been able to do is when we came into office, tens of billions of dollars were going to banks and financial intermediaries who were essentially acting as middlemen for the student loan program, even though it was federally guaranteed. So they weren’t taking any risks, but it was passing through them and they would take -- they would skim off tens of billions of dollars of profit.

 

So we said, well, that doesn’t make any sense. Why don’t we just have the money go directly from the government to the student and we’ll save all that money. And now what we have, we’ve been able to save $60 billion that we’re putting in now to make sure that millions more young people across the country are able to get the student loans and the Pell Grants that they need. And starting in 2014, we’re actually going to be able to say to young people that you will never have to pay more than 10 percent of your income in repaying your student loans.

 

And if you go into public service, if you’re like Etta and you go into teaching, for example, after 10 years, whatever is remaining on your debt will be forgiven. So that will give young people a much better head start, because everybody here, if they haven’t experienced it personally, somebody in your family has finished college with huge amounts of debt that they’re having trouble repaying. I know Michelle and I did, too.

 

So there are a whole range of things that we’re trying to do, working with colleges, community colleges, universities to try to improve our education system. One of the things that I announced this week was we’re really going to focus on science and math, because that’s where our young people I think are falling the most behind. And we’ve made a commitment that we’re going to hire over the next couple of years 10,000 new science and math teachers. And we’re going to work with the schools to help redesign their math and science curriculums, so that we start boosting -- I want to get to the point where we’re number one in science and math.

 

And I also want to make sure, by the way, that that’s true for all students, because I’ll be honest with you, African American students, Latino students, we’re doing worse in science and math than the overall average. So America is the 21st and 25th, but if you actually looked at performance of Latino and African American students, it would be even lower. And that’s inexcusable because that’s fastest growing portion of our population. That’s our future. That’s our future workforce.

 

And so we’ve got to have the most skilled, most highly trained workers in the world. And this is what we’re going to be focusing on over the next couple of years.

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Guest August

It was the will of George Washington to educate the unfortunate.

 

http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/documents/will/text.html

 

The Will of George Washington

 

Item. To the Trustees Governors, or by whatsoever other name they may be designated) of the Academy in the Town of Alexandria, I give and bequeath, in Trust, four thousand dollars, or in other words twenty of the shares which I hold in the Bank of Alexandria, towards the support of a Free school established at, and annexed to, the said Academy; for the purpose of Educating such Orphan children, or the children of such other poor and indigent persons as are unable to accomplish it with their own means; and who, in the judgment of the Trustees of the said Seminary, are best entitled to the benefit of this donation. The aforesaid twenty shares I give & bequeath in perpetuity; the dividends only of which are to be drawn for, and applied by the said Trustees for the time being, for the uses above mentioned; the stock to remain entire and untouched; unless indications of a failure of the said Bank should be so apparent, or a discontinuance thereof should render a removal of this fund necessary; in either of these cases, the amount of the Stock here devised, is to be vested in some other Bank or public Institution, whereby the interest may with regularity & certainty be drawn, and applied as above. And to prevent misconception, my meaning is, and is hereby declared to be, that these twenty shares are in lieu of, and not in addition to, the thousand pounds given by a missive letter some years ago; in consequence whereof an annuity of fifty pounds has since been paid towards the support of this Institution.

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