We are long past the time when American kids could stand on the ramparts and look down at the rest of the world. Even some of our most prestigious and wealthiest communities can’t compete with the “average” kids in places like Korea or Finland or Poland.
When the pencils are down, we fail. We fall far, far behind. But why? We often ask what we are doing wrong, but instead, Atlantic and Time journalist Amanda Ripley, asks and explores what others are doing right.
That is the core of her reporting in The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way. Amanda Ripley spent one year following American teenagers living in Finland, South Korea and Poland. Her stories, reveal startling transformation. These countries got smarter not by spending more money or creating more tests.
As Ripley tells Jeff Schechtman in this week’s Specific Gravity interview, the children learned how to think, and to thrive in the modern economy.