Anya Kamenetz

Anya Kamenetz is NPR's lead education blogger. She joined NPR in 2014, working as part of a new initiative to coordinate on-air and online coverage of learning.

Kamenetz is the author of several books about the future of education. Generation Debt (Riverhead, 2006), dealt with youth economics and politics; DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education (Chelsea Green, 2010), investigated innovations to address the crises in cost, access, and quality in higher education. Her forthcoming book, The Test (PublicAffairs, 2015), is about the past, present and future of testing in American schools.

Learning, Freedom and the Web (http://learningfreedomandtheweb.org/), The Edupunks' Guide (edupunksguide.org), and the Edupunks' Atlas (atlas.edupunksguide.org) are her free web projects about self-directed, web-enabled learning.

Previously, Kamenetz covered technology, innovation, sustainability and social entrepreneurship for five years as a staff writer for Fast Company magazine. She's contributed to The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, Slate, and O, the Oprah Magazine.

Kamenetz was named a 2010 Game Changer in Education by the Huffington Post, received 2009 and 2010 National Awards for Education Reporting from the Education Writers Association, and was submitted for a Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing by the Village Voice in 2005, where she had a column called Generation Debt.

She appears in the documentaries Generation Next (2006), Default: A Student Loan Documentary (2011), both shown on PBS, and Ivory Tower, which premiered at Sundance in 2014 and will be shown on CNN.

Kamenetz grew up in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, in a family of writers and mystics, and graduated from Yale University in 2002. She lives in New York City.

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NPR Ed
5:03 am
Sat October 4, 2014

Q&A: Plumbing The Mysteries Of The Teenage Brain

Professor Laurence Steinberg, of Temple University, says adolescence should be conceived of as lasting from puberty to the early 20s.
Axel Griesch Fotografie Tel. 004 Laurence Steinberg

Originally published on Sat October 4, 2014 6:46 pm

Do you remember the summer when you first fell in love? The songs that were playing on the radio, butterflies in the stomach, the excitement of a stolen kiss? The tendency of our brains to especially hold onto memories from the teenage years is called the "reminiscence bump."

It's one of the many distinctive characteristics of the adolescent brain that psychologist Laurence Steinberg lays out in his new book, Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence.

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State Tests
2:15 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

When Teachers, Not Students, Do The Cheating

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 3:30 pm

Opening arguments began today in the trial of 12 Atlanta educators charged in an alleged cheating conspiracy that came to light in 2009.

Prosecutors claim there was widespread cheating on state tests throughout the city's public schools, affecting thousands of students.

The case has brought national attention to the issue, raising questions about whether the pressures to improve scores have driven a few educators to fudge the numbers, but also about broader consequences.

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NPR Ed
6:18 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Three R's For The Digital Age: Rockets, Robots And Remote Control

I and Robot ... a primal encounter at World Maker Faire.
LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 11:53 am

Huan Zhang is captain of the all-girl robotics team at Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows, Queens. She and her teammate Vanessa Lin are firing up their robot for me. It looks a little bit like a milk crate on the go.

"It's going to take a couple minutes to set it up," Lin says. While we're waiting, Zhang tells me their rookie team made it to regional competition in Pennsylvania with this very robot, which, on cue, starts rolling around picking up plastic blocks with metal arms.

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NPR Ed
5:03 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Tests That Look Like Video Games

A screenshot from the Posterlet game: choosing negative or positive feedback.
AAA Lab, Stanford University

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 8:21 am

This week, NPR Ed is focusing on questions about why people play and how play relates to learning.

Imagine you're playing a computer game that asks you to design a poster for the school fair. You're fiddling with fonts, changing background colors and deciding what activity to feature: Will a basketball toss appeal to more people than a pie bake-off?

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NPR Ed
1:31 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Teacher Tenure Lawsuits Spread From California To New York

Campbell Brown of the Partnership for Educational Justice, with plaintiffs in their New York teacher tenure lawsuit.
Gwynne Hogan WNYC

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 4:40 pm

Why are so many low-income and minority kids getting second-class educations in the U.S.?

That question is at the center of the heated debate about teacher tenure. In New York today, a group of parents and advocates, led by former CNN and NBC anchor Campbell Brown, filed a suit challenging state laws that govern when teachers can be given tenure and how they can be fired once they have it.

As WNYC reported, Brown announced the suit on the steps of City Hall:

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NPR Ed
12:38 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Charter Schools, Money And Test Scores

Putting charter school research under a microscope.
Flickr

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 4:30 pm

The University of Arkansas today released what it calls a "first ever" study exploring the relationship between charter school funding and student achievement.

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NPR Ed
4:03 am
Tue July 8, 2014

The Collapse Of Corinthian Colleges

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 7:39 am

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NPR Ed
7:03 am
Wed July 2, 2014

The Return Of The One-Room Schoolhouse

The West Street Schoolhouse in Southington, Ct., was built around 1760. It was heated with a potbellied wood stove.
National Register of Historic Places

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 10:52 am

Even if your grandpa didn't walk uphill to school both ways, or have to break the ice on the bucket before fetching a drink with the dipper, you probably have iconic images in your mind of the one-room schoolhouse. It's a storied piece of America's past dating back to the Colonial era.

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NPR Ed
4:23 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Asking Kids With Special Needs To Clear The Same Bar

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 11:48 am

Jackson Ellis will soon head to fourth grade. Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, he's been receiving publicly funded services since he was 15 months old. Jackson's mother, Rebecca Ellis, a single parent, has made education advocacy her career. She's fighting to make sure her son gets the help he needs at his Mandeville, Louisiana public school. That's always been an uphill battle. But, since the state adopted the Common Core State Standards, Ellis says, it's become even harder.

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Labor
7:59 am
Mon June 30, 2014

A 'Death Knell' For Public Sector Unions? Not Yet

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 7:46 am

One of the last two Supreme Court decisions of this term was billed as a potential "final destruction" or "kill shot" for public sector unions. They seem to have been merely nicked by a bullet.

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Education
1:06 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

As College Tuition Soars, What Puts That Price Tag In Motion?

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 3:42 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We wanted to figure out why college costs have been rising so much, and Anya Kamenetz with the NPR Ed team joins me now to break down the numbers.

Anya, why don't we take the example of a working-class student at a four-year public university getting no help from mom and dad? What do the numbers look like?

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Education
2:17 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Mass Collection Of Student Data Raises Privacy Concerns

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 2:43 pm

States are centralizing record-keeping and tracking student progress, while online educational software sheds light on how students learn. But many worry about how this information could be misused.

NPR Ed
3:03 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Why Education Is The Most Important Revolution Of Our Time

Everything I needed to know about learning, I learned in preschool?
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 9:37 am

Learning is something people, like other animals, do whenever our eyes are open. Education, though, is uniquely human, and right now it's at an unusual point of flux.

By some accounts, education is a $7 trillion global industry ripe for disruption. Others see it as almost a sacred pursuit — a means of nurturing developing minds while preserving tradition. Around the world, education means equal rights and opportunity. People risk their lives for it every day.

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The Two-Way
12:54 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

State Spots In Preschool Declining, Report Finds

Student-teacher ratio is one component of high-quality preschool.
Barnaby Wasson Flickr

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 1:06 pm

Public preschool enrollment fell slightly last year, according to a report released today by researchers at Rutgers University.

About 9,000 fewer children attended public pre-K programs in 2013 than in 2012, the report from the university's National Institute for Early Education Research says. It's the first time since researchers began examining this issue in 2002 that the numbers have fallen.

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The Two-Way
3:03 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Poll: Prestigious Colleges Won't Make You Happier In Life Or Work

Harvard's Hasty Pudding Theatricals. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 2 percent of college graduates with $20,000 to $40,000 in undergraduate loans said they were "thriving."
TPapi Flickr

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 6:38 am

There's plenty of anxiety in the U.S. over getting into a top college. But a new Gallup poll suggests that, later in life, it doesn't matter nearly as much as we think. In fact, when you ask college graduates whether they're "engaged" with their work or "thriving" in all aspects of their lives, their responses don't vary one bit whether they went to a prestigious college or not.

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