Book Review: “The Smartest Kids in the World”

“The Smartest Kids in the World,” by Amanda Ripley, is a highly engaging look at secondary education in Finland, South Korea, and Poland.┬áThe book was published in 2013 and generated quite a bit of buzz , due to its skillful comparison of the systems of these three educational high-achievers with that of the United States. Ripley skillfully combines a variety of statistics (primary compiled by the PISA exam) with a unique on-the-ground perspective provided by extensive interviews with three American exchange students, who each lived in one of the subject countries for a year. Many of her findings challenge key aspects of the U.S. high school experience: Continue reading