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
7:03 am
Fri December 19, 2014

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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NPR Ed
12:03 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

A For-Profit College Tries The Charter School Market

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

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

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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NPR Ed
2:56 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

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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Education
3:49 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Why Math Might Be The Secret To School Success

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

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

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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NPR Ed
8:03 am
Sat December 6, 2014

Q&A: J Is For Jihad

Columbia University Press

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

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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NPR Ed
8:03 am
Sun November 30, 2014

The History of Campus Sexual Assault

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

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

"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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NPR Ed
5:36 am
Sat November 29, 2014

What Every School Can Learn From Preschools

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

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

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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NPR Ed
4:08 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

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

LA Johnson/NPR

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

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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NPR Ed
8:03 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Testing: How Much Is Too Much?

LA Johnson NPR

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

"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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NPR Ed
7:03 am
Fri November 14, 2014

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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NPR Ed
11:10 am
Fri November 7, 2014

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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NPR Ed
8:03 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 9:46 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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NPR Ed
5:15 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

When Teachers, Not Students, Do The Cheating

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 6:30 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
9:18 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 2:53 pm

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
8:03 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 11:21 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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