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
5:23 am
Tue June 2, 2015

The Quantified Student: An App That Predicts GPA

Scientists have developed an app that tracks how much time students spend sleeping, working out, studying or partying.
Sally Anscombe Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 3, 2015 8:49 am

It sees you when you're sleeping ... it knows when you're awake ... it knows if you've been hitting the books, so be good for goodness' sake!

No, it's not Santa Claus. It's the digital Jiminy Cricket each of us carries in our pocket, otherwise known as a smartphone.

In a small experiment, researchers at Dartmouth College have shown that data automatically collected by an Android app can guess how students are spending their time — predicting their end-of-term grades with scary accuracy.

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NPR Ed
6:03 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Nonacademic Skills Are Key To Success. But What Should We Call Them?

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 1:32 pm

More and more people in education agree on the importance of learning stuff other than academics.

But no one agrees on what to call that "stuff".

There are least seven major overlapping terms in play. New ones are being coined all the time. This bagginess bugs me, as a member of the education media. It bugs researchers and policymakers too.

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NPR Ed
7:03 am
Wed May 27, 2015

A New Kind Of College Wins State Approval In Rhode Island

Students Carmen Boucher (left) and Hilda Castillo collaborate at a College Unbound weekly seminar.
Tracy Money College Unbound/Big Picture Learning

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 3:33 pm

It's one of the biggest challenges in higher education today: What do you do with the nearly one in five working-age adults who have some college experience, but no degree?

Sokeo Ros was one of them. "I just hated" community college, he says. "I wasn't being challenged."

Ros, 34, was born in a Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand. He dropped out of two colleges, switching majors several times.

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NPR Ed
5:38 am
Tue May 19, 2015

What Do You Do With A Student Who Fidgets?

Studies found that fidgeting can help children with ADHD collect their thoughts.
LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 12:35 pm

Our story last week about the connection between ADHD, movement and thinking struck a nerve with readers. We reported on a small study in which students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder performed better on memory tasks when they were allowed to spin and move around in a swiveling chair.

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NPR Ed
7:27 am
Thu May 14, 2015

Vindication For Fidgeters: Movement May Help Students With ADHD Concentrate

Allowing kids with ADHD to move around in class may help them collect their thoughts.
LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 8:46 am

Are you a pen-clicker? A hair-twirler? A knee-bouncer? Did you ever get in trouble for fidgeting in class? Don't hang your head in shame. All that movement may be helping you think.

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NPR Ed
5:43 am
Wed May 13, 2015

A Key Researcher Says 'Grit' Isn't Ready For High-Stakes Measures

The accuracy of self-reporting depends on your frame of reference. Excerpted from "Measurement Matters: Assessing Personal Qualities Other Than Cognitive Ability for Educational Purposes."
Courtesy of Angela L. Duckworth and David Scott Yeager

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 6:23 am

If you've followed education in the news or at the book store in the past couple of years, chances are you've heard of "grit." It's often defined as the ability to persevere when times get tough, or to delay gratification in pursuit of a goal.

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NPR Ed
5:53 am
Sun May 10, 2015

Counting Poor Students Is Getting Harder

LA Johnson/NPR

Researchers, grant-makers and policymakers have long relied on enrollment numbers for the federally subsidized Free and Reduced-Price Lunch program. They use those numbers as a handy proxy for measuring how many students are struggling economically. The paperwork that families submit to show their income becomes the basis of billions in federal funds.

To be eligible for these programs, a family must earn no more than 85 percent above the poverty line. Just over half of public school students fit that description.

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NPR Ed
1:49 am
Tue May 5, 2015

A For-Profit School Startup Where Kids Are Beta Testers

AltSchool's schools are a proving ground for dozens of engineers seeking to build "an operating system for education."
Courtesy of Altschool

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 3:48 pm

At first glance, the warehouse in San Francisco's SOMA neighborhood could be the headquarters of any well-funded startup: exposed concrete, natural light, lots of Macbooks. Then you spot the 12- and 13-year-olds doing yoga in a glass-walled conference room.

It's a tech company, but it's also a private, for-profit middle school: a unique, hybrid venture called AltSchool.

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NPR Ed
7:03 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Several Florida School Districts Cut (Way) Back On Tests

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 8:04 am

Did you hear that?

It's the sound of hundreds of thousands of public school students in Florida breathing sighs of relief.

The state's largest school district, Miami-Dade County, just cut the number of district-created, end-of-course exams it will require from roughly 300 to 10. And even those 10 will be field-tested only, on just a sampling of students.

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NPR Ed
7:03 am
Tue April 28, 2015

Delinquent. Dropout. At-Risk. When Words Become Labels

Sidney Poitier (right) and Glenn Ford (standing) in the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Tue April 28, 2015 4:05 pm

Much of our recent reporting, especially from New Orleans, has focused on young people who are neither in school nor working. There are an estimated 5 1/2 million of them, ages 16 to 24, in the United States.

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