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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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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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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4:11pm

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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3:38pm

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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4:59pm

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

What We Learned From The Best Commencement Speeches Ever

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 8:32 am

Conan O'Brien's 2011 commencement address at Dartmouth College was one of those speeches that was so good it drew news coverage.
Jason R. Henske AP

Something funny has happened to the familiar commencement address in the past 10 years. That something is YouTube. Steve Jobs' 2005 address at Stanford, to take just one example, has been viewed upwards of 20 million times.

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