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.

7:03am

Fri December 19, 2014
NPR Ed

Details On The Administration's New College Ratings System

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 11:52 am

Today the Education Department released long-awaited details on a plan to hold colleges accountable for their performance on several key indicators, and officials said they'll be seeking public comment on the proposals through February.

"As a nation, we have to make college more accessible and affordable and ensure that all students graduate with a quality education of real value," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement.

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12:03pm

Sun December 14, 2014
NPR Ed

A For-Profit College Tries The Charter School Market

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 11:14 am

ITT Technical Institute's Early College Academy campus in Troy, MI.
Nicole Elam/ITT Technical Institute

Starting this past spring, parents in Indianapolis; Troy, Mich.; Jacksonville and Tampa, Fla.; and Houston, Texas, heard about a new option for their children's last two years of high school.

In each city, a charter school called Early Career Academy planned to offer students the chance to earn associate degrees, either in network systems administration or software development, alongside their high school diplomas. Students were offered laptops to work on and ebooks to use. All for free.

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2:56pm

Wed December 10, 2014
NPR Ed

Why The President Wants To Give Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars To Toddlers

Nikki Jones' preschool class at Porter Early Childhood Development Center in Tulsa, Okla.
John W. Poole NPR

Why does public school start at age 5?

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3:49am

Tue December 9, 2014
NPR Ed

Why Math Might Be The Secret To School Success

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 2:01 pm

There's a real lack of math learning in pre-K. In one study, in fact, just 58 seconds out of a full preschool day was spent on math activities.
Kaylhew Flikr Creative Commons

Little children are big news this week, as the White House holds a summit on early childhood education on Wednesday. The president wants every 4-year-old to go to preschool, but the new Congress is unlikely to foot that bill.

Since last year, more than 30 states have expanded access to preschool. But there's still a lack of evidence about exactly what kinds of interventions are most effective in those crucial early years.

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8:03am

Sat December 6, 2014
NPR Ed

Q&A: J Is For Jihad

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 8:21 am

Columbia University Press

Letter M (capital M and small m): (Mujahid): My brother is a Mujahid. Afghan Muslims are Mujahideen. I do Jihad together with them. Doing Jihad against infidels is our duty.

These words come from a textbook written to teach first-graders Pashto, one of the two official languages of Afghanistan. In the primer, eight of the 41 letters of the alphabet contain similar references, to guns, swords and defending the homeland against infidels.

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8:03am

Sun November 30, 2014
NPR Ed

The History of Campus Sexual Assault

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 12:34 pm

A University of Virginia student looks over postings on the door of Peabody Hall related to the Phi Kappa Psi gang rape allegations at the school in Charlottesville, Va., Monday, Nov. 24, 2014.
Steve Helber AP

"Male sex aggression on a university campus" was the title of one of the first studies published about a topic now very much in the news. Way back in 1957, sociologist Eugene Kanin posited a model where men used secrecy and stigma to pressure and exploit women.

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5:36am

Sat November 29, 2014
NPR Ed

What Every School Can Learn From Preschools

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 8:49 am

Preschool students from Nikki Jones' class at Porter Early Childhood Development Center in Tulsa line up in the hallway on their way back from outside play.
John W. Poole NPR

Listening. Sharing. Following directions. Making friends. Managing big emotions. Planning for the future.

A high-quality preschool program helps children develop in all these ways. But, a new report argues, such matters of the heart shouldn't be left behind just as students are learning to tie their shoes.

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4:08pm

Thu November 20, 2014
NPR Ed

Why Working With Young Children Is (Still) A Dead-End Job

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 3:54 pm

LA Johnson/NPR

Right now, at preschool programs around the country, teachers are tapping infinite reserves of patience to keep the peace among children at various stages of development and need. They're also providing meals, wiping noses and delivering a curriculum in math and reading that will get the kids ready for school.

And there are hugs. Lots of hugs.

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8:03am

Mon November 17, 2014
NPR Ed

Testing: How Much Is Too Much?

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 1:23 pm

LA Johnson NPR

"In some places, tests — and preparation for them — are dominating the calendar and culture of schools and causing undue stress for students and educators."

The quote comes not from an angry parent or firebrand school leader but from Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Of course, he's the guy currently in charge of a big chunk of those tests: the No Child Left Behind requirement of annual standardized testing in grades 3-8, plus once during grades 10-12.

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7:03am

Fri November 14, 2014
NPR Ed

A Botched Study Raises Bigger Questions

John Ayers, executive director of the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives at Tulane University, will resign at the end of November.
Paula Burch-Celentano Tulane University

New Orleans, where nine of 10 children attend charter schools, has perhaps the most scrutinized public school system in the country.

And since Hurricane Katrina, a major source of information about the city's schools has been the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, a research group connected with Tulane University. The institute has been widely cited by political leaders and in the news media, including our reporting.

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11:10am

Fri November 7, 2014
NPR Ed

For-Profit Colleges Sue The Federal Government Over Student Loan Rules

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Jacquelyn Martin AP

A trade group representing more than 1,400 for-profit colleges has filed a lawsuit against the federal government over regulations aimed at curbing industry abuses.

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8:03am

Sat October 4, 2014
NPR Ed

Q&A: Plumbing The Mysteries Of The Teenage Brain

Originally published on Sat October 4, 2014 9:46 pm

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

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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5:15pm

Mon September 29, 2014
NPR Ed

When Teachers, Not Students, Do The Cheating

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 6:30 pm

LA Johnson/NPR

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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9:18am

Wed September 24, 2014
NPR Ed

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

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 2:53 pm

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

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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8:03am

Thu August 7, 2014
NPR Ed

Tests That Look Like Video Games

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 11:21 am

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

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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4:31pm

Mon July 28, 2014
NPR Ed

Teacher Tenure Lawsuits Spread From California To New York

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 7:40 pm

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

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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4:15pm

Tue July 22, 2014
NPR Ed

Charter Schools, Money And Test Scores

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 7:30 pm

Putting charter school research under a microscope.
Flickr

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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7:03am

Tue July 8, 2014
NPR Ed

The Collapse Of Corinthian Colleges

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:39 am

10:03am

Wed July 2, 2014
NPR Ed

The Return Of The One-Room Schoolhouse

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 1:52 pm

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

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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7:23am

Tue July 1, 2014
NPR Ed

Asking Kids With Special Needs To Clear The Same Bar

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 2:48 pm

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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4:06pm

Mon June 9, 2014
Education

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

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 6:42 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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5:17pm

Mon May 26, 2014
Education

Mass Collection Of Student Data Raises Privacy Concerns

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 5:43 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.

6:03am

Mon May 19, 2014
NPR Ed

Why Education Is The Most Important Revolution Of Our Time

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 12:37 pm

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

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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4:06pm

Tue May 13, 2014
The Two-Way

State Spots In Preschool Declining, Report Finds

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

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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6:03am

Tue May 6, 2014
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 9:38 am

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

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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5:24pm

Wed April 23, 2014
Education: Watch This Space

In Age Of Custom-Tailored Ed Tech, Teachers Shop Off The Rack

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:38 pm

Free software is fun!
reynermedia Flickr

The big names in the growing education-technology industry gathered in Arizona this week.

The "Education Innovation Summit" styles itself the "Davos of ed-tech." Educators, philanthropists and political leaders like Jeb Bush rubbed elbows with the investors, venture capitalists, big companies like Microsoft and small companies hoping to get big. It's hosted by Arizona State University and GSV, a private equity firm.

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11:01am

Tue April 22, 2014
The Two-Way

Study: 2 In 5 Americans Earning Degrees After High School

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 1:37 pm

America may have a shot at rejoining the world's most educated nations by 2025, according to a report released Monday by the Lumina Foundation.

The Indianapolis-based foundation's annual report finds some encouraging data to counter the familiar story of a nation that is famed for its colleges and universities but trails many other countries when it comes to the percentage of people with a degree beyond high school.

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