The Smartest Kids in the World

November 23rd, 2013
Like almost everything else in our globalized world, education is now competitive.  We are long past the time when American kids could stand on the ramparts and look down at the rest of the world.  Even some of our most prestigious and wealthiest communities can’t compete with the “average” kids in places like Korea or Finland or Poland.

As is normal when we are under attack, our knee jerk reaction is to come up with excuses.  We are more diverse, we are larger, we focus on different things and different values.  Problem is, they are excuses.  When the pencils are down, we fail.  We fall far, far behind.  But why?  We often ask what we are doing wrong, but instead, Atlantic and Time journalist Amanda Ripley, asks and explores what are others are doing right.

That is the core of her reporting in The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way
Amanda Ripley spent one year following American teenagers living in Finland, South Korea and Poland.   Her stories, reveal startling transformation. These countries got smarter not by spending more money or creating more tests, and they are not like Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average.  

My Conversation with Amanda Ripley: