- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (July 29, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 145165443X
- ISBN-13: 978-1451654431
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 617 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way Paperback – July 29, 2014
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“[Ripley] gets well beneath the glossy surfaces of these foreign cultures and manages to make our own culture look newly strange…The question is whether the startling perspective provided by this masterly book can also generate the will to make changes.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Compelling . . . What is Poland doing right? And what is America doing wrong? Amanda Ripley, an American journalist, seeks to answer such questions in The Smartest Kids in the World, her fine new book about the schools that are working around the globe ….Ms. Ripley packs a startling amount of insight in this slim book.” (The Economist)
“[T]he most illuminating reporting I have ever seen on the differences between schools in America and abroad.” (Jay Mathews, education columnist, The Washington Post)
“[The Smartest Kids in the World is] a riveting new book….Ripley’s policy recommendations are sensible and strong….The American school reform debate has been desperately in need of such no-nonsense advice, which firmly puts matters of intellect back at the center of education where they belong.” (The Daily Beast)
“The Smartest Kids in the World should be on the back-to-school reading list of every parent, educator and policymaker interested in understanding why students in other countries outperform U.S. students on international tests.” (US News & World Report)
“Gripping….Ripley's characters are fascinating, her writing style is accessible, and her observations are fresh….If you're interested in how to improve public schools, read Ripley's book today.” (The Huffington Post)
“In riveting prose...this timely and inspiring book offers many insights into how to improve America’s mediocre school system.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
"If you care about education, you must read this book. By recounting what three intrepid kids learned from the rest of the world, it shows what we can learn about how to fix our schools. Ripley's delightful storytelling has produced insights that are both useful and inspiring." (Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin)
“This book gives me hope that we can create education systems of equity and rigor—if we heed the lessons from top performing countries and focus more on preparing teachers than on punishing them." (Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers)
“This is a no-nonsense, no-excuses book about how we can improve outcomes for all kids, from the poorest to the wealthiest. It avoids platitudes and ideology and relies instead on the experiences of students.” (Joel Klein, CEO, Amplify, and former chancellor, New York Department of Education)
“Amanda Ripley observes with rare objectivity and depth. She finds a real and complex world ‘over there’—schools with flaws of their own but also real and tangible lessons about how to do better by our kids. The Smartest Kids in the World gave me more insights, as a parent and as an educator, than just about anything else I’ve read in a while.” (Doug Lemov, author of Teach Like a Champion)
“Such an important book! Amanda Ripley lights the path to engaging our next generation to meet a different bar. She makes an enormous contribution to the national and global discussion about what must be done to give all our children the education they need to invent the future.” (Wendy Kopp, founder and chair, Teach For America, and CEO, Teach For All)
"The Smartest Kids in the World is a must read for anyone concerned about the state of American public education. By drawing on experiences, successes, and failures in education systems in the highest-performing countries across the globe, Amanda Ripley lays out a course for what we must do to dramatically improve our nation's schools.” (Michelle Rhee, Founder and CEO of StudentsFirst)
“Ripley’s stirring investigation debunks many tenets of current education reform.” (BookPage)
“In lively, accessible prose….Ripley’s book looks at the data from a new perspective. Those stunned parents and teachers in New York State and elsewhere would do well to read this book first if they are inclined to blame their children’s/students’ poor results on a new test.” (OECD “Education Today” Blog)
“[Ripley] is a compelling storyteller who deftly plaits humorous anecdotes and hard data to whip you in the face with her findings.” (Kristen Levithan Brain, Child Magazine)
“Ripley’s evaluation of education in a changing world is revealing and thought-provoking.” (Rocky Mountain Telegram)
“A good read . . . . If you want to understand what goes on in other countries’ education systems, read [The Smartest Kids in the World].” (Coshocton Tribune)
About the Author
Amanda Ripley is a literary journalist whose stories on human behavior and public policy have appeared in Time, The Atlantic, and Slate and helped Time win two National Magazine Awards. To discuss her work, she has appeared on ABC, NBC, CNN, FOX News, and NPR. Ripley’s first book, The Unthinkable, was published in fifteen countries and turned into a PBS documentary.
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Takeaways from this book are that the Finnish teachers from the top educational country via results on the "PISA" test, mention three things, as the reasons they stay in education - they are: 1. salary 2. respect 3. autonomy. These definitely resound positively with me as an expereinced teacher and librarian.
Thus we see for effective education it is better for a country to spend money on its teachers: training, recruiting, hiring and paying them than on any other issues. This book is hope filled and gives many actionable alternatives for countries to "fix" their educational systems and the human resources route , focussing on Teachers is suggested as the way to go.
It is very well worth reading.
American students deserve a first rate global education. Strong in critical thinking skills; strong in math, science and basic engineering; high expectations and the ability to fail and learn from that failure in school. Anything less from the American system puts us further behind those countries that value learning over all other activities at school.
Read the book, talk to your neighbors about their school, ask your school leaders fair questions, start to take back our schools for the students. It's not about the adults. The plan is simple, the more you learn, the harder you work, the more opportunities you have in life.
While focusing much of her attention on the experience of American students in foreign schools, Ms. Ripley is also able to show very clearly the similarities and differences between the schools systems in Finland, Korea and Poland and the ones in three different states that the students attend before and after their exchange program experiences.
Viewing the systems through the eyes of the exchange students made the material enjoyable to read. Ripley didn't bog the story down with too many statistics.
While I don't think that Ripley's book is nearly comprehensive enough to say that she's found any definitive answers to our failing educational system, I think it is a good jumping board to delve into these issues and look at what we can improve.
Most recent customer reviews
I did not expect this topic to be such a joy to read PLUS she makes some really good points.Read more