Immigrants’ kids are smarter than American kids, study indicates

(Image: Intel Science Talent Search)

A study released this week by the National Foundation for American Policy lays out the evidence that the children of foreign-born parents are far and away the best students in American schools–especially in science and math.

According to the study, while 12 percent of the American population is foreign-born, 70 percent of the finalists in the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search competition were the children of immigrants.

“Many immigrant parents place a heavy emphasis on education, particularly in math and science, viewing this as a path to success in America,” wrote the study’s author, Stuart Anderson, who is the executive director of NFAP.

Anderson has studied the Intel contest over the years and has found the percentage of winners with American-born parents is steadily decreasing.

The Intel prize was formerly known as the Westinghouse talent search or junior Nobel Prize. Over the years, 70 percent of the winners have gone on to receive advanced degrees and seven of the winners have later won Nobel Prizes, according to the study.

While immigrants, most of the parents were in the country legally, the study reported. China and India were the leading countries of origin of the winning students. In order, the country of birth for the parents of the 40 finalists were China, 16; United States, 12; India 10; Iran 1; and South Korea, 1.

The study further notes that most of the families involved are pursuing paths toward American citizenship.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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