Analysis - Smartest Kid in the World
In the recent years, the performance and the attention given to the public education in the United States have been jaded, and the system is not performing well. It is important to note here that the government and other education agencies have put in a lot of effort and money in order to fix the education system but there have been no dramatic results despite of numerous attempts to bringing in education reforms since the past 20 years. As compared to other countries, the United States have spent more on the public education than any nation in the world. The Americans rank 17th in science, 26th in maths and 12th in the reading. These numbers are concerning, and still a lot is required in terms of strategic change to improve the system.
Other nations have demonstrated that they are able to excel in the matter of education and out pass United States in this regard with less money spent on the education system. Thus, it is believed that it is high time to identify what the other countries are doing different in order to excel and become successful in the education sector of the United States. This is the main project that the journalist Amanda Ripley deployed herself to and wrote a book “The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way.”
The focus in Ripley’s book is done on the education system of three main countries: Finland, Poland and South Korea. The Finland and South Korea are chosen because they have performed amazingly as far as academics is concerned, and they are considered to be on top of this world. Poland is chosen because it has high child poverty and labor rate like United States but still it has improved its academic results, and the outcome is excellent as compared to the results of the United States. When we analyse South Korea, it can be evaluated that the country has been able to excel in education sector because of the immense motivation and the hard work that the students have performed as far as their academics is concerned. The culture of South Korea is that the students spend every minute they are awake studying and doing school work. This means that students spend their time at school along with their dinner that is done in school and then they go to their private tutoring schools also known as hagwons. At hagwons, students study till it is bedtime and often beyond this time till it is required. This hard work is required because the students face intense competition from each other, and they want to get admission in the top universities of the world.
In Finland, the academics are similar to South Korea. The only different thing is that the students have been able to achieve these results without this intense hard work as performed by South Korean students. Another difference is that, it is not due to intense motivation of Finland students that their education system is one of the top most in the world but because of its high quality and learned teachers. The Finland has provided with excellent teachers’ colleges, and the teaching programs are extensive and vigorous which result in top notch quality teachers.
Poland has worked a lot harder to bring and implement reforms in education sector such as improving the standards and curriculum, providing more funds to the vocational schools and the education institutions that are unable to perform well academically. This has resulted in improved academic outcomes overall on the country level.
These are some good examples to follow for the country like United States as it has the resources, the capabilities and the funds available to implement the best possible solution available to improve its education system and to make it one of the best in the world in comparison with South Korea and Finland.
Amanda Ripley (Jul 2014) “The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way.”