What Do Smart Kids See in Successful Education Systems?

Most educators who search for clues on how to improve their country's basic education system will usually take the route of sending observers (teachers and school administrators) to other countries deemed to have a more successful system. Amanda Ripley, an education reporter for Time magazine and the Atlantic Monthly, took a different course of action. Instead, she made use of an intelligence resource that is already in place. There are thousands of American students who are currently exchange students in other countries. Finding these students and interviewing them provides a different route to extract what exactly educational systems in other countries have. The information Ripley obtained from these students are now published and described in a new book, "The Smartest Kids in the World".

Figure downloaded from Amazon.com

The title of the book in Amazon.com gives away the major findings, that is, countries whose educational systems are performing much better than that of the United States are characterized by schools that are much harder (not so much in quantity, but more on depth and degree of difficulty), by students who believe that basic education is truly something for them and not to have it is a great loss, and by systems where students can in fact fail and suffer the consequences. Amanda Ripley talks about this book in a very engaging video shared below and it is worth watching: