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.

Pages

4:31am

Mon April 20, 2015
NPR Ed

Anti-Test 'Opt Out' Movement Makes A Wave In New York State

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 9:10 am

A school bus passes a sign encouraging parents to have their children opt out of state tests in Rotterdam, N.Y.
Mike Groll AP

Across New York state this week, some students are refusing to take a test, and they're not getting punished for it. The test is the Common Core-aligned, federally mandated test, and students, parents and educators are part of what they're calling the opt-out movement.

Opt outs made news last week in several states: Colorado, Florida, Oregon, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, to name a few. The objections are similar everywhere. But no state is posting numbers like New York.

Read more

8:03am

Sat April 18, 2015
NPR Ed

Falling Through The Cracks: Young Lives Adrift In New Orleans

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 6:36 pm

Craig Adams, Jr., 18, is studying for his second try at the high school equivalency exam.
LA Johnson/NPR

On weekend afternoons, Craig Adams Jr. plays for tourists on the streets of the French Quarter.

He gigs with different bands, bringing whatever's needed: trumpet, trombone, saxophone — he plays six or seven instruments in all. There's a white plastic bucket on the sidewalk so people can drop in cash as they browse the T-shirts and Mardi Gras masks.

Craig is 18, and there's music in his blood: "I had my uncle, my grandfather, and my dad to teach me." His father, Craig Adams Sr., leads a group called the Higher Dimensions of Praise Gospel Band.

Read more

7:03am

Sat April 11, 2015
NPR Ed

New Research Shows Free Online Courses Didn't Grow As Expected

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 12:02 pm

Student Raul Ramos goes through his online homework during a session of a massive open online class, or MOOC, in Madrid, Spain.
Andres Kudacki AP

Remember the MOOC?

Just a few years ago, the Massive Open Online Course was expected to reinvent higher education. Millions of people were signing up to watch Web-based, video lectures from the world's great universities. Some were completing real assignments, earning certificates and forming virtual study groups — all for free.

Surely the traditional college degree would instantly collapse.

Read more

3:57pm

Thu April 2, 2015
NPR Ed

The Atlanta Cheating Verdict: Some Context

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 12:59 pm

Former Deerwood Academy assistant principal Tabeeka Jordan is led to a holding cell. She is one of 11 Atlanta educators found guilty of racketeering.
Kent D. Johnson AP

Today an Atlanta jury found eleven educators guilty of racketeering in a case that implicated dozens of schools and hundreds of educators. Their scheme: inflate scores on high-stakes standardized tests.

The case has drawn national attention, exposing widespread abuse and unethical behavior in the school district. Those convicted face decades in prison. But how much does it tell us about high-stakes testing in general?

Read more

5:38pm

Tue March 31, 2015
NPR Ed

Activists Stop Paying Their Student Loans

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 11:03 am

Makenzie Vasquez (from left), Pamala Hunt, Latonya Suggs, Ann Bowers, Nathan Hornes, Ashlee Schmidt, Natasha Hornes, Tasha Courtright, Michael Adorno and Sarah Dieffenbacher are refusing to pay back loans they took out to attend Corinthian Colleges.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Latonya Suggs says she borrowed thousands of dollars in student loans to attend the for-profit Corinthian Colleges but has nothing to show for it. Most employers don't recognize her criminal justice degree.

"I am completely lost and in debt," Suggs says. And now she's doing something about it: She's refusing to pay back those loans.

Suggs and 106 other borrowers now saddled with Corinthian loan debt say their refusal to repay the loans is a form of political protest. And Tuesday, the U.S. government gave them an audience.

Read more

4:19pm

Mon March 23, 2015
NPR Ed

In Congress, New Attention To Student-Privacy Fears

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 10:30 am

LA Johnson/NPR

Several efforts in Washington are converging on the sensitive question of how best to safeguard the information software programs are gathering on students.

A proposed Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act of 2015 is circulating in draft form. It has bipartisan sponsorship from Democratic Rep. Jared S. Polis of Colorado and Republican Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana.

Read more

8:03am

Thu March 19, 2015
NPR Ed

Questions To Ask About Ed-Tech At Your Kids' School

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 1:33 pm

LA Johnson/NPR

When a 4-year-old comes home from pre-K proudly announcing that she spent her "choice time" playing on the computer, what's a parent to do?

Read more

1:03pm

Mon March 9, 2015
NPR Ed

Math Love, Game-Based Learning, And More From NPR Ed At #SXSWEdu

Sarah Hagan, a young algebra teacher in Oklahoma oil country, will be joining us at SXSW Edu to talk about her unorthodox approach to classroom math.
Elissa Nadworny NPR

It's not quite as glamorous as the way our colleagues at NPR Music do it, but this week, the NPR Ed team will be heading down to Austin, Texas for the South By Southwest Edu conference.

Read more

5:58am

Sun February 22, 2015
NPR Ed

If Your Teacher Likes You, You Might Get A Better Grade

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 10:59 am

LA Johnson/NPR

Were you ever the teacher's pet? Or did you just sit behind the teacher's pet and roll your eyes from time to time?

A newly published paper suggests that personality similarity affects teachers' estimation of student achievement. That is, how much you are like your teacher contributes to his or her feelings about you — and your abilities.

Read more

9:34am

Sun February 15, 2015
NPR Ed

Q&A: Exit Interview With A Nationally Known School Leader

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 12:49 pm

Joshua Starr
Skip Brown

Joshua Starr, a nationally prominent superintendent with the Montgomery County schools in Rockville, Md., this month was granted early release from his contract after 3 1/2 years.

Read more

12:08pm

Mon February 2, 2015
NPR Ed

Virtual Schools Bring Real Concerns About Quality

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 6:30 pm

LA Johnson/NPR

At the end of Angela Kohtala's leadership skills course, her high school students have to plan and carry out a community service project. Maybe it's fixing up their school courtyard, or tutoring younger students in an afterschool program.

Afterwards, they create a PowerPoint with pictures of the project. This isn't just a nice way to develop presentation skills — it's mandatory to prove that they really weeded that garden or sat with those kids in the first place.

You see, Kohtala's students are spread across the state of Florida, while she herself lives in Maine.

Read more

8:03am

Mon January 26, 2015
NPR Ed

Competency-Based Degree Programs On The Rise

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 2:22 pm

LA Johnson/NPR

Competency-based education is in vogue — even though most people have never heard of it, and those who have can't always agree on what it is.

Read more

3:39am

Thu January 22, 2015
NPR Ed

The Past, Present And Future Of High-Stakes Testing

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 3:14 pm

PublicAffairs Books

After a long stretch as the law of the land, annual standardized tests are being put to, well, the test.

This week, the Senate education committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law and, specifically, on testing. The committee's chairman, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has released a draft bill offering a lot more leeway to states in designing their own assessment systems.

Read more

12:08am

Thu January 15, 2015
NPR Ed

A New Study Reveals Much About How Parents Really Choose Schools

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 9:13 am

A painted map of the U.S. seen from inside a classroom at Homer A. Plessy Community School, a charter school in New Orleans.
Eric Westervelt NPR

The charter school movement is built on the premise that increased competition among schools will sort the wheat from the chaff.

It seems self-evident that parents, empowered by choice, will vote with their feet for academically stronger schools. As the argument goes, the overall effect should be to improve equity as well: Lower-income parents won't have to send their kids to an under-resourced and underperforming school just because it is the closest one to them geographically.

Read more

1:09pm

Mon January 12, 2015
NPR Ed

Arne Duncan Wants To Drop 'No Child Left Behind' — But Keep Its Tests

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 4:11 pm

Education Secretary Arne Duncan speaks with reporters after he and Attorney General Eric Holder toured the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center on Dec. 8, 2014.
Cliff Owen AP

In a speech Monday at an elementary school in Washington, D.C., Education Secretary Arne Duncan laid out the president's position on the nation's largest federal education law, even as debate unfolds over the law's re-authorization.

Read more

Pages