For anyone interested in education this book is a must read. It is a devastating account of American education in particular, although many other countries including Great Britain, come out of the analysis equally badly.
Amanda Rigby's book examines the dramatic improvement in the education of Poland's pupils, why on the basis of the famous PISA examinations (these test problem-solving rather than memory) pupils in China, Finland, Korea, Canada and Japan, score far better than their counterparts in America Britain, Germany and France. Pupils in the former no longer need to use calculators, work much harder and are taught in classrooms free of technological gadgets (on which far too many teachers are dependent). She also states that teachers in these schools are genuine professionals held 'in high regard by pupils, parents and employers.
Amanda makes the point, as have others like Professor David Blake, that children tend to do well in schools where they are expected to succeed and where the school has a clear vision and mission. Expect failure you'll get it. She makes the crucial point-if only teachers would do as she suggests-that if pupils are given rigorous work they will on most occasions perform accordingly. She adds-how true this is-that in 'all too many schools low expectations are often rewarded'.
I have a Finnish daughter-in-law. She confirms everything Amanda Ripley says.
Today, Britain, America continue to slide down the World Economic Forum's ranking while Finland, Poland and other countries with far less resources move up the Forum's table. Those of us who are familiar with the failing countries can see little evidence of improvement. A major reason for this is the refusal by certain political parties,teachers and other interested parties to admit there is a problem requiring urgent attention.
Read this book. It will open your eyes. Those with entrenched political ideas will, of course, try to denigrate it. This, I know, has already happened in one or two American States.