Thoughtful comments from both of you, Jabber and Ellemm.
About 15 years ago I did the marketing for a community on the Mississippi River that wanted to install hydro generation into their existing dam. It seemed like a "no brainer" as the hydro power generated would have provided free power for the entire community, with any excess power sold off into the power grid. (Generating money that would have offset a need for taxation.)
We encountered a huge backlash from "tree huggers" who were worried that the hydro process would harm the fish. To try to allay fears/concerns, I worked with hydro engineers at the University of Iowa to show that the process would be safe, as there would be a "fish ladder."
Long story just to say that I discovered in the process that there are very few American-born engineering students attending this Big 10 University's engineering school. I was surprised.
So surprised I checked with my dad, who is an emeritus professor at another Big 10 University's engineering college. He confirmed to me that most of THEIR engineering students were also foreign born students who come to the US, get an education, and go back to their native land.
Many of these students are Asian or Indian.
I think it is terribly sad that here in the US we don't seem to be able to graduate high school students who are capable of successfully competing against foreign-born students for places at good US universities.
A few months ago, I learned from my niece, who runs an ESL program at a THIRD US university (this one out east) that many of the foreign-born students attending colleges here in the US are not considered to be the "best and brightest" students from their respective countries.
They are what we might call "second tier" students. Students who didn't make the cut to attend university in their native countries, but who are born into families who are wealthy enough to afford to send them off to the US to attend college. Many have led lives of wealth and privilege before arriving here. It is her job to get them to learn enough English to be able to take classes and graduate. Most are Chinese, but they are also getting students from elsewhere in the world.
If I put two and two together, here, I come up with the idea that here in the US we are educating "second tier" students to go back to their native countries, where they apply their newly acquired knowledge and work ethic to successfully take on projects, such as the Apple work we have been discussing -- keeping it from landing in the US.
While I applaud US universities for finding ways to teach the best and brightest students they can attract, I am saddened to realize the net result.
But Ellemm, you are right, that our US-born students are not getting a good high school education anymore.
IMHO, this is a tough dilemma, and not one that will be easily solved.