I was a bit disappointed by Amanda Ripley’s The Smartest Kids in the World. It seemed a bit light, too dependent on narratives from exchange students whom I didn’t find very compelling, and a bit repetitive. Maybe it just felt a bit redundant though since the Korea chapter wasn’t too informative to me.
What’s the message pounded in again and again in different words? America needs to value hard work, hold students to a high standard, hold them accountable, train teachers, spend money in a better way and not just more of it. She ends on a hopeful note that maybe a crisis will compel Americans to push forward revolutionary reforms in education like Korea, Finland, and Poland have.
But what’s the underlying difference between the US and Korea, Finland, Poland? Americans may want revolutionary reforms here and there, but we just can’t agree on anything and education policy never gets made in a timely or consistent manner. We’re too big, too slow, too divisive.
This book did, however, provide the catalyst for a new project I decided to start, and a long term goal that I’ve hatched that is maybe 5 or 10 years in the making. I will announce the project soon!