I began reading this book, “the smartest kids in the world: and how they got that way” by Amanda Ripley several months ago, back when our AC units were roaring in the background, our Zoku popsicle maker was filled with fruity layers in our freezer, and I needed to layer sunscreen instead of scarves on my way out for the day. I finally finished this thoughtful read, and as it has prodded me to consider the educational system that I was brought up in, and reconsider and observe the ones currently in place worldwide, I thought I’d share many of the bookmarked passages with you. I do recommend that you read the book, but here’s a taste along with brief flurries of commentary.
Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education, Art, Music. If you were lucky, you had these and other classes offered to you when you were growing up. These days, physical education is either relegated to 1 day/week, or not at all, during the school day. Money for the arts, music, theatre are usually the first to go in a budget. Chalk boards have been replaced by the height of technology in middle-america in places like Minnesota, with responsive white boards, and tablets. Many other changes have come about since the one-room school house days. “the smartest kids in the world” is a compilation of keen observations, one writer’s case study, of where education is today in the USA, Poland, South Korea, and Finland. Three of these countries score among the highest worldwide in education. One, my own, does not. For details on the standards and tests, you have to read the book, but each country is SO different that it is puzzling how each succeeds. This book shows us a measuring stick for education, gives us a sense of the strength of the pulse of education today, and gets one to think about the trajectory for education and potential strategies that could offer a child a lifetime of success.
I challenge you to read it. I doubt you will think about education the same afterwards.
Up Next: Part 2: insights about MATH