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The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way | [Amanda Ripley]

The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way

How do other countries create "smarter" kids? In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they've never seen before. They are learning to think, in other words, and to thrive in the modern economy.What is it like to be a child in the world's new education superpowers? In a global quest to find answers for our own children, author and Time magazine journalist Amanda Ripley follows three Americans embed­ded in these countries for one year.
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Publisher's Summary

How do other countries create "smarter" kids? In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they've never seen before. They are learning to think, in other words, and to thrive in the modern economy.What is it like to be a child in the world's new education superpowers?

In a global quest to find answers for our own children, author and Time magazine journalist Amanda Ripley follows three Americans embed­ded in these countries for one year. Kim, 15, raises $10,000 so she can move from Oklahoma to Finland; Eric, 18, exchanges a high-achieving Minnesota suburb for a booming city in South Korea; and Tom, 17, leaves a historic Pennsylvania village for Poland.

Through these young informants, Ripley meets battle-scarred reformers, sleep-deprived zombie students, and a teacher who earns $4 million a year. Their stories, along with groundbreaking research into learning in other cultures, reveal a pattern of startling transformation: none of these countries had many "smart" kids a few decades ago. Things had changed. Teaching had become more rigorous; parents had focused on things that mattered; and children had bought into the promise of education.

A journalistic tour de force, The Smartest Kids in the World is a book about building resilience in a new world-as told by the young Americans who have the most at stake.

©2013 Amanda Ripley (P)2013 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"A compelling, instructive account regarding education in America, where the arguments have become 'so nasty, provincial, and redundant that they no longer lead anywhere worth going.'" (Kirkus)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (450 )
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  •  
    scott Mississauga, Ontario, Canada 09-29-13
    scott Mississauga, Ontario, Canada 09-29-13 Member Since 2012
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    "A clear look at education"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    A must read for parents of young children. This book cuts through the education and learning hype.


    Any additional comments?

    The book examines the pros and cons of four educational systems Korea, Finland, Poland and the United States and comes up with some interesting observations and recommendations.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy S. Thornton 02-11-15
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    "Thought provoking"

    A book everyone should read. Children are our future. How we educate them is important. This book was an eye-opener in many areas

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 02-03-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Exceptional Addition to Educational Resources"

    This book is a must-have for anyone who sincerely wants to know where education has gone astray, what can be done to get education back on track, and how to cultivate the minds of learners for life long success. It should be required reading for today's upcoming educators.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Powell 01-25-15
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    "Fascinating study of the world's education systems"

    The narrator sounded quite robotic, but you get used to it eventually. Very enlightening read for all interested in improving education.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Mercado New York City 01-23-15
    G. Mercado New York City 01-23-15 Member Since 2014

    Giselle

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    "Curiously interesting"

    Rich in information for todays parent world, where we need to know how best to prepare our kids for this shifting, competitive and strict world!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Prof. Everest 01-10-15
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    "Honest, Inspiring, Vitally Important Material"

    Narration: Very well done- Clear, Concise tone & pace
    Content: No holds barred look at 4 education models from around the world. No longer can "under resourced" or "poverty" be used-- with a straight face anyway--as an excuse for poorly performing US schools.

    As an educator, I was chagrined many times reading this, thinking of numerous ways I'd succumbed to being "flexible" or "understanding" or lowered expectations in the face of my students' many challenges. This book brought into clear relief the core element students need: high expectations by teachers, parents and society at large. Small class size, more technology, emotionally intelligence while each are relevant, they obfuscate the core issues that have to be faced-- and as a teacher and parent this book has validated some of my practices, made me ashamed about others, but mostly has given me confidence to act on this information right away.

    My only criticism is that for me there were moments of occasional fluff, beginning to go inconsistently deeper into her student case study's lives than needed. However, she made each person very real and I could easily identify with each of them, helping make the educational data imparted more easily digested and seem more valid.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mia Luce Annapolis, Maryland 01-07-15
    Mia Luce Annapolis, Maryland 01-07-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Thank you!"

    The book about education that every parent, teacher and leader needs to read!

    "Without data, you are just another person with an opinion... Without data, you are just another person with an opinion" -Amanda Ripley

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kris 01-07-15
    Kris 01-07-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Simply Excellent"

    Simply an excellent global view of education. Amanda Ripley tackles. misconceptions regarding education systems in other countries. Ripley uses actual research to refute or support effects of various educational practices, including the impact of different kinds of parent involvement in schools on their child's education.

    The main message of this book is a strong case for more rigorous education for students in the United States. As an educational system we seem to have traded rigor in our attempt to empathize/therefore underestimating our students. We also need to set more rigorous standards for those who wish to become teachers in this country.

    Thought provoking and well written.

    I would strongly recommend this book for all in education and those with a loved one who will be or is being educated in the United States. Particular focus should be placed on the appendix, that provides valuable guidance regarding what to look for in a high quality, rigorous education- that has become a non-negotiable for those who wish to be a competent employee in the 21st century.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Dr. whiskerman 12-27-14 Member Since 2009
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    "A bit of a letdown"

    Interesting to learn about other countries educational system through the eyes of students from America going to school s overseas. I did not like the obvious agenda of the author that we need to turn American schools and a more authoritarian system to keep up with other countries and their PISA scores.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 11-25-14
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 11-25-14 Member Since 2014

    I have a rather eclectic love of books. I know what I like and I tend not to be a severe critic. If I enjoyed it, it gets 4 or 5 stars.

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    "Great Book -- we should be listening!"

    I disagree with some of the other opinions that were posted. I think this book points out some glaring differences in the educational system of the U.S., Finland, Korea, and Poland. I have a doctorate in education and I still found this book to be very useful as well as an enjoyable read. I believe all educators should read this book - we could all learn something from it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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