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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

June 17, 2005

Written by C.N.

Americans Being Tutored by Indians

As one further example of outsourcing in the U.S., the Christian Science Monitor reports that more schoolchildren in the U.S. are turning to tutors in India to help them with their schoolwork:

Americans have slowly grown accustomed to the idea that the people who answer their customer-service and computer-help calls may be on the other side of the globe. Now, some students may find their tutor works there, too. . . . But critics worry about a lack of tutoring standards and question how well anyone can teach over a physical and cultural gulf. The fact that some of the outsourced tutors may be used to fulfill the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) supplemental education requirements – and get federal funds to do so – has been even more controversial. . . .

“We don’t know who’s tutoring the students, we don’t know what their qualifications are, and we’re concerned about their familiarity with the curriculum in the districts of the students they’re tutoring,” says Nancy Van Meter at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). . . . Still, while the AFT and others, including US Rep. George Miller (D) of California, have been quick to pounce on the practice, its proponents wonder why qualified teachers should be kept from helping kids, just because they’re in a foreign country.

It’s a different form of outsourcing, but the same old arguments are being used here — critics ask whether the Indian workers are qualified to do their job and whether Americans will accept outsourced services from foreign workers, while supporters argue that despite cultural differences, the Indian workers are just as qualified and that the whole process will ultimately benefit Americans and strengthen the whole economy.

I still can’t say for sure whether I am pro- or anti-outsourcing — there are just too many variables and different circumstances to take into consideration. But there’s one thing that needs to be kept in mind by all sides — outsourcing is a natural consequence of living within a capitalist economy. If outsourcing critics want someone to blame, they need to blame the capitalist system in which they live and support in many different ways — not workers halfway around the world who are just trying to make a living.


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Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Americans Being Tutored by Indians" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2005/06/americans-being-tutored-by-indians/> ().

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