Reporter Amanda Ripley Follows Three Young Americans On A Quest to Join The Smartest Kids in the World

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For Immediate Release:
February 27, 2014
Contact: Courtney Lewis
Reporter Amanda Ripley Follows Three Young Americans On A Quest to Join The Smartest Kids in the World

In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they've never seen before. They are learning to think, in other words.

What is it like to be a child in these new education superpowers?

Bestselling Author Amanda Ripley traces the stories of three young Americans who have opted to study in these foreign hotbeds of thought in a discussion of her book The Smartest Kids in the World - and How They Got That Way on Wednesday, March, 12, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

Ripley's subjects are Kim, 15, who raises $10,000 so she can move from Oklahoma to Finland; Eric, 18, who exchanges an upscale Minnesota suburb for a booming South Korean city; and Tom, 17, who leaves a historic Pennsylvania village for a gritty city in Poland.

Their stories, along with groundbreaking research into learning in other cultures, reveal a pattern of startling transformation.

None of these countries had many "smart" kids a few decades ago. But teaching has become more rigorous, parents have focused on things that matter, and children have bought into the promise of education.

 A reporting tour de force, The Smartest Kids in the World is about building resilience in a new world-as told by the young Americans who have the most at stake. It was selected as one of the Best Books of 2013 by The Economist, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

Amanda Ripley is an investigative journalist for Time and The Atlantic, where she has written about the primacy of sports in American high schools, the college of the future, and the science of motivating children.  She is the author of The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes -- and Why.

This event is the first in a new education speaker series co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The new KC Education 20/20 series brings leading thinkers in education to present to Kansas City audiences; Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed, is scheduled for May 7th.

Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at or call 816.701.3407.


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