Preparing students to excel in a fast-changing world is a concern for many nations. Some countries, including our own, have implemented a variety of education reforms over recent decades, only to see piddling results. Others, including Finland, South Korea and Poland, have realized major gains.
Author and journalist Amanda Ripley, spent a year following three American high school exchange students to understand how those nations were able to change the face of education — some in an incredibly short period of time. Her findings, outlined in the book, The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way, are enlightening and contain lessons for us all.
The bottom line: America needs to get serious about rigor in education, or our kids will pay the price.
Amanda Ripley is an investigative journalist for Time, The Atlantic and other magazines. Her first book, The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes — and Why, was published in 15 countries and was turned into a PBS documentary. Her work also has appeared in Slate, the Wall Street Journal and the Times of London and has helped Time Magazine win two National Magazine Awards.
Amanda Ripley lives in Washington, D.C., where she is an Emerson Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation.