❰Read❯ ➪ The Smartest Kids in the World Author Amanda Ripley – Horse-zine.co.uk

10 thoughts on “The Smartest Kids in the World

  1. says:

    This is what journalism should be about, telling a story from a different perspective and digging into the details Most reporting on education is pathetically superficial and simply rehashes the common narrative Amanda Ripley takes on the topic with analytical rigor and good personal story telling This isn t a wishy washy book lamenting the state of United States failing school system It s full of hope and actionable information on what makes schools good and what doesn t Ripley does dispel with most of the normal excuses given for why the US does so poorly like poverty, diversity, etc While these are factors they aren t the main problem The main takeaways are that good education systems 1 Expect a great deal from their students, regardless of background They don t care about self esteem, just results.2 Are very selective about teacher quality In Finland you have to be in the top of your class to go to school for education.3 Have a consistant curriculum that covers less but much thoroughly.4 Have fewer test and less homework.5 Don t put students into different tracks gifted, vocational etc , or do so much later.5 Don t spend much on technology Plain blackboards and good teachers are what s needed There is also a good deal of history on how those school systems got to be where they are and what they are like today The stories from the exchange students are particularly good bits of data.If you care about education, this is an important book worth reading.

  2. says:

    A take away from this book it is better for a country to spend money on its teachers training, recruiting, hiring and paying them than to spend so much on technology.

  3. says:

    I read this book almost entirely in one day As non fiction goes, it was a page turner.I was skeptical of Ripley s anecdotal approach to this complex issue, but she tackles with a good amount of objectivity and balance Essentially, she asks why the United States is so far behind the rest of the developed world on education, despite spending such a relatively large amount of money on education per capita She reminds readers that the problem is incredibly complex As an educator in the US University, not K 12, but some of the same stuff holds , some of the vivid highlights from her arguments include 1 In the US we spend so much money in schools on technology which is not linked to increased learning at all and on sports athletics which baffles the rest of the world.2 Our teacher education system is not prestigious We produce 5x the number of teachers we need and requirements to get into education programs are often not very high at a good university in Oklahoma that Ripley profiled, the ACT requirement for admission to the education department is a score of 19 The national average is 20.6 To paraphrase Ripley, this sends the message that we believe our teachers can be below average themselves but still teach our children effectively.3 The coddling We are so fixated on getting students to like us, and making sure no one feels bad, and letting them float by when there is something in their life holding them back from their best work To have high expectations these days feels like you are being a jerk Other countries recognize that it is often a very difficult to be stern and have high standards, but easier when everyone is doing it, b possible to be both stern and warm at the same time just in the US, we see holding everyone accountable to the same standards is unfair , and c much better for the student in the long run When it comes to learning, it s better When it comes to employability, it s better I m so confused about why we re still giving out trophies to everyone and making sure everyone has a fair chance all the time We bend over backwards and our students get bored because we don t have high expectations.4 Our students are not given a chance to fail until they are out of school This is a by product of 3 Students in other countries learn what it s like to not perform well at an early age They learn how to fail and learn from their mistakes when it is still a safe environment and the stakes aren t high We are so fixated on empathy and immediate self esteem not a horrible thing, but not the most important thing when it comes to learning that we do not let our children fail at things.All in all, a phenomenal read, and it reassures me both as an almost new parent and as a university professor I have been angsting about the school my child will go to Ripley gives some great tips in the Appendix for the right things to ask when visiting a school It reassures me that it s important to maintain high standards, even if I m the only one doing it, and even if it s really hard sometimes.

  4. says:

    I m approaching this one as a mom than as an educator As such, my comments reflect that perspective rather than a critical reading I m interested in how kids get an education that they think of as good I m interested in their experiences as students abroadchokengtitik

    titikchokeng 32 When Kim got into the Duke summer program for gifted and talented kids and she said to her mom This is my chance to be normal I just cried In so many schools, kids who are interested in learning are ridiculed or just subtly made to feel weird and out of the norm The really sad part is that many of these ostracizing attitudes carry over into adult life, especially in small towns p 84 85 I am astounded by what Ripley has written about America s teacher training colleges and the value of a master s degree in education If true, it s deeply saddening that the coursework isn t rigorous and there seem to be no baseline standards for who gets in Can that really be true Don t teachers to be have to take the GRE and submit a transcript Don t they have to pass an intensive practicum Either way, teaching here is not held in the high regard Ripley reports it is in Finland Nor is it limited to it the top minds.I wanted to know about the PISA test I started here I was looking to find out how many students in each country take the test each year It s on the FAQ page In 2012, 6,111 15 year olds took the test So, it can t really be said to offer an accurate picture of our whole country s educational system That s a really small percentage of the kids in the U.S I think if all kids took this instead of the MCAS or FCAT or California achievement tests or SATs or whatever, then we could use it to generate data that tell us something real about our nation So, that s a bit disappointing As other reviewers have said, the fact that so few kids actually take the PISA calls into question Ripley s using PISA results to conclude that Finland, South Korea, and Poland have better schools over all than the U.S I can t throw out everything else she s written on p 100, Ripley relates a story told by a Finnish girl who had come to Michigan for an exchange year It was like elementary school in Finland, she said We did so many posters I remember telling my friends, Are you kidding me Another poster It was like arts and crafts, only boring This is not hyperbole As a parent and as a teacher in than one district, I have witnessed first hand these demoralizing cut and paste projects that only require that a student produce some object that will be thrown away once graded It is the rare and beloved teacher who assigns projects that grab students imaginations and get them to think and really learn something they ll internalize, be proud of, and use again.Over and over, Ripley returns to the theme of expectations When we have low expectations of students, they work to meet those low expectations and that s it There s also the theme of rigor It s not necessarily about tracking, about separating kids out into college bound and not at a young age It s not about piling on the volume of work so much that kids have no time to do anything else It s about creating excitement about learning, developing coursework and homework that develop kids thinking and reasoning skills All kids can do this, straight As or not.And, of course, as a librarian and as a lifelong reader, I am both overjoyed and horrified that the international survey and study of family life that was done along with the PISA identified the three most important kinds of parental involvement leading to student success 1 reading to your children from a very young age 2 regularly making sure your children see you reading for enjoyment and information 3 conversing with your kids about what you re all reading and about world events Yeesh Do we need another study to tell us this And, in light of this, why do library directors everywhere have to prove their worth to finance committees every year I might be ranting and raving now Can you tell I ve recently started attending curriculum committee meetings at my youngest s school

  5. says:

    Let me start off by saying that I wanted to like this book Instead, it left me disappointed In an age of education reform and magic bullets, I was originally drawn to the book because I heard it described the Finnish education system, which is all the rage for the right reasons today I applaud author Amanda Ripley for thinking outside the USA s borders.This book is set up, lamely in my opinion, as a case study of 3 American high school students who study abroad in Finland, South Korea, and Poland, with the United States and sometimes Germany compared throughout Although Ripley made some good points to be sure, I felt that far too much was lacking The glaring, central problem for me is that Ripley comes off as a well intentioned journalist i.e not an educator her lack of expertise and seasoning was apparent throughout However, I admit my possible bias as I am a teacher who has been up to his eyeballs in the politics of education for years.To be specific, some interesting points I liked 1 Grit is a key measurement to success in life I agree, but I wish Ripley would have analyzed culture further instead of emphasizing teachers and schools so much Also she dismisses poverty as a reason for failure which I am very skeptical of doing.2 The US is obsessed with high school sports How can a coach be the best teacher possible if he she spends hours and hours coaching not to mention the teachers who become teachers to be a coach and don t have a passion for teaching How can students do their best in school by constantly playing sports I love sports but I admit that we are crack addicts in the US with sports.3 I was fascinated by the South Korean system Kids are robots, it is really a living Hell and the US needs to learn from this horror story If you want to see where all of education reform and testing might take us, please study South Korean schools and agree with me that it is child abuse.4 We should front load the requirements in the US for teachers to be able to be teachers I agree I am not a fan of the online teaching degrees and the half ass Teach for America degrees and the like they undermine the profession Also, I believe that teachers should be experts not merely competent , in their fields for secondary education Finally, to close my argument here, after teachers are teachers, I feel that less professional development is needed, or at least lots of freedom for a teacher to grow how they choose Teaching is an all consuming job and taking classes, going to meetings, etc often gets in the way.Some of my overall pet peeves included 1 Ripley WAY OVEREMPHASIZES test scores to compare systems For example, the PISA test has been heavily criticized along with the fact that barely any students take it in the US What about a deeper exploration about US system beyond the testing of math and English What about an economic comparison, a civilly active public comparison, a measurement of fun in countries comparison, etc It is one data point after another, which is great as a start, but I felt the picture was incomplete Also, other authors about education politics were very rarely mentioned, and the voices of American teachers and their unions, etc were even rarer The lack of multiple perspectives and references makes Ripley come off as amateurish.2 Ripley constantly cuts into American teachers Teachers are not strict enough, need accountability, grade too easy, school is not rigorous enough, etc I was insulted when an exemplary US teacher gave a girl an F because she earned it on page 196 i.e he was strict but fair As a teacher, I can say with the utmost confidence that the VAST majority of teachers do this every single DAY Also, Ripley s exemplary teacher was under Michelle Rhee s D.C system, and Rhee s controversy was hardly mentioned Imagine.3 I wanted to read about Finland I wish less emphasis was on the girl that went there i.e the case study I had the advantage of knowing about it going into the book, and I learned very little.In closing, it not a horrible read, but I am quite disappointed with it, especially in light of all the attention it is getting.

  6. says:

    Sadly, very, very few people are qualified to write accurately about education Count Amanda Ripley as one who is not This book is riddled with errors and flawed analyses in many cases Ripley simply ignores the data in order to present an appealing picture I certainly won t spend money on such a flawed book It s scary thinking about how many readers will get conned by reading this book See Bob Somerby s blog posts about the book on The Daily Howler

  7. says:

    The problem with this book was that all the research was based on something called the PISA test, which was given in countries around the world The statistical sample of the US was a whopping 5,233 kids in 165 schools This is inadequate, ridiculously small sample from which the author draws her conclusions Ripley is also not an educator, has never taught, and from what she says in the book, didn t seem to spend much time in American schools I found some of her rhetoric over the top And her comment that none of the American principals knew their per pupil expenditures was insane Every teacher knows it, and it s printed in the news with regularity That being said, after almost 40 years as an educator, I did agree with her in a number of areas.Teacher training needs to be a lot better The self esteem movement has hurt kids in the US Parents need to see education as part of THEIR job Don t hire coaches instead of teachers, better yet, take sports out of the public schools There was an awful lot I disagreed with also Any lauding of S Korean schools is nuts To have kids in school or at hagwons for 18 hours a day repeating virtually everything the kids had learned during the day is crazy Not to mention, bankrupting families to pay for the tutoring Ripley blames unions for retaining bad teachers As someone who was union president, I can tell you that it s the administrators who are too lazy to do their jobs as evaluators and the unions often push to get rid of poor teachers Besides, Finland, the top performing country has some of the strongest teachers unions Ripley loves Common Core, which is simply a way to dumb down the best schools in an attempt to bolster those who don t perform well In the last few years, there was dumbing down of the curriculum than in the previous 30 years combined, all done at the behest of administrators and against the will of the teachers Americans get the schools they want Full of high tech gadgets that make no difference, with dozens of sports, and no consequences for failure Since one can get into an elite college on the basis of legacy why achieve I see no way out of the mess that American education has become But I do think that the first thing that needs to happen, is that dabblers in education like Ripley and Gates and those of their ilk, need to stick to what they know best and let the professional educators figure it out The three things the Finnish teachers mentioned as the reasons they stay in education were 1 salary 2 respect 3 autonomy American teachers in some schools may have the first, but not the other two Therein lies part of the problem.

  8. says:

    This was fascinating, and not only because it mentioned International Baccalaureate programs Ripley compares USian schools to those of other nations through the lens of foreign exchange students experiences I wanted to read it or less as an adjunct to The Importance of Being Little to give a fuller picture of education from preschool to college, highlighting some of the places that do it exceptionally well.The US does well by some students, those with the greatest advantages to start with There are tremendous inequities by income and race, and only the second is being addressed Charter schools, many of which are for profit, show no improvements over public schools on average, despite the tremendous gains they re supposed to enjoy by being freed from bureaucracy and particularly the horrors of tenured teachers who cannot be fired without cause And why bother, when it isn t an issue that elected officials send their own children to private schools or to public schools in areas so wealthy they are defacto private schools Korea also has a lot of crap schools, but it doesn t matter, because every parent who can afford it is hiring private tutoring companies to make up the difference, which isn t all that different from our own system.Finland and Poland however have some lessons to teach us They are awesome, and they achieved awesome rather quickly I won t give away all their secrets, but a rigorous education and commensurate pay for teachers isn t a bad idea.Highly recommended to people with a specific interest in education I can t begin to imagine how it would appeal to readers who aren t keen on the topic.Library copy

  9. says:

    As an educator, I would say this is a must read even though it is truly just an introduction to the subject I would haveloved to hear about the Finnish schools I like how they combine rigorous standards with teacher autonomy Good teachers will find a way to teach if given the opportunity which they are not in American schools I also liked the illustration in the appendix about what happened when a teacher in the US gave a little girl an F She and her mother complained about being given an F the teacher explained that he hadn t given her an F, she had earned it But the best part of the story is the most important part, and one we as Americans rarely get to because of our empathetic hearts, the next year the little girl earned an A and she knew she had earned it Great book to start the school year with high expectations both for my son and my students.

  10. says:

    Taking the recent Portuguese panorama on Education, this book is very adequate, it s on time, I would say Experts in Portugal speak of a too centralistic administration of the Education field math and sciences stats are far bellow the best of OCDE OECD Norway, namely secondary level completion placing Portugal near the low levels of Turkey and Mexico plus, a low level of investment per GDP in Education This is the ongoing panorama Ripley gives some clues on how to change She conducted studies is several nations including the USA and found the reasons for the top scores of Finland, South Korea and Poland Other nations fared less but well though Japan, Singapore, Holland, Hong Kong China and Canada She s been analyzing the performance of pupils in these PISA tests Ripley speaks of 21st century skills the pupils must acquire not memorize, but use knowledge take information and apply it She says also that some of these nations governments got very serious on Education And it s not a question of technology, the answer though South Korea is very high tech for better Education results It s also a matter of teachers training Reading and reviewing in GR might help, I wonder Programme for International Student Assessment in 2009, Portugal ranked 32 in Math and Sciences and 27 in Reading UPDATEWell, this is good news for Portugal for the first time above the average, yet ranking 33rd One can always wonder about the causes for the improvement The Chinese still leading December 2016

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The Smartest Kids in the World download The Smartest Kids in the World , read online The Smartest Kids in the World , kindle ebook The Smartest Kids in the World , The Smartest Kids in the World 5c79aae741ba Through The Compelling Stories Of Three American Teenagers Living Abroad And Attending The World S Top Notch Public High Schools, An Investigative Reporter Explains How These Systems Cultivate The Smartest Kids On The PlanetAmerica Has Long Compared Its Students To Top Performing Kids Of Other Nations But How Do The World S Education Superpowers Look Through The Eyes Of An American High School Student Author Amanda Ripley Follows Three Teenagers Who Chose To Spend One School Year Living And Learning In Finland, South Korea, And Poland Through Their Adventures, Ripley Discovers Startling Truths About How Attitudes, Parenting, And Rigorous Teaching Have Revolutionized These Countries Education ResultsIn The Smartest Kids In The World, Ripley S Astonishing New Insights Reveal That Top Performing Countries Have Achieved Greatness Only In The Past Several Decades That The Kids Who Live There Are Learning To Think For Themselves, Partly Through Failing Early And Often And That Persistence, Hard Work, And Resilience Matter To Our Children S Life Chances Than Self Esteem Or SportsRipley S Investigative Work Seamlessly Weaves Narrative And Research, Providing In Depth Analysis And Gripping Details That Will Keep You Turning The Pages Written In A Clear And Engaging Style, The Smartest Kids In The World Will Enliven Public As Well As Dinner Table Debates Over What Makes For Brighter And Better Students