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
6:03 am
Sun April 26, 2015

What If Students Could Fire Their Professors?

LA Johnson/NPR

"Welcome to Iowa State University. May I take your paper, please?"

A bill circulating in the Iowa state Senate would rate professors' performance based on student evaluations. Just student evaluations.

Low-rated professors would be automatically fired — no tenure, no appeals.

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NPR Ed
6:03 am
Thu April 23, 2015

To Get More Students Through College, Give Them Fewer Choices

Redesigning America's Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success by Thomas R. Bailey, Shanna Smith Jaggars and Davis Jenkins
Harvard University Press

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 9:18 am

How many different flavors of jam do you need to be happy?

In 2000, a famous experiment showed that when people were presented with a supermarket sampler of 24 exotic fruit flavors, they were more attracted to the display. But, when the sample included only six flavors, they were 10 times more likely to actually buy.

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NPR Ed
3:01 am
Mon April 20, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 7:25 am

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 a Common Core-aligned, federally mandated exam, 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.

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NPR Ed
6:03 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Falling Through The Cracks: Young Lives Adrift In New Orleans

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

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 8:37 am

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.

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NPR Ed
5:03 am
Sat April 11, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 10:02 am

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.

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NPR Ed
3:38 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Activists Stop Paying Their Student Loans

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

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 9:03 am

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.

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NPR Ed
2:19 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

In Congress, New Attention To Student-Privacy Fears

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 8:30 am

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.

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NPR Ed
6:03 am
Thu March 19, 2015

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

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 11:33 am

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?

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NPR Ed
11:03 am
Mon March 9, 2015

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.

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NPR Ed
3:58 am
Sun February 22, 2015

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

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 8:59 am

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.

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