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. Her latest is The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life (PublicAffairs, 2018).

Her previous books were Generation Debt; DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, and The Test.

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, and appeared in documentaries shown on PBS and CNN.

Kamenetz was named a 2010 Game Changer in Education by the Huffington Post, received 2009, 2010, and 2015 National Awards for Education Reporting from the Education Writers Association, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for innovation in 2017 along with the rest of the NPR Ed team.

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.

This week, we're digging through federal data and cruising YouTube to bring you the most relevant education news.

New federal data: Black students disproportionately punished, arrested

As the wave of teacher walkouts moves to Arizona and Colorado this week, an NPR/Ipsos poll shows strong support among Americans for improving teachers' pay and for their right to strike.

We're crazy in love with all the education news — from Coachella to new findings on screen time.

Beyoncé brings HBCU pride to Coachella performance

More than 2 out of 3 college students today are not coming straight out of high school. Half are financially independent from their parents, and 1 in 4 are parents themselves.

David Scobey says that, as an American studies and history professor at the University of Michigan for decades, he was "clueless" about the needs of these adult students.

But then, in 2010, he became a dean at The New School, a private college in New York City, heading a division that included a bachelor's degree program designed specifically for adults and transfer students.

Nation's Report Card: mostly flat

The 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the Nation's Report Card, showed no statistically significant changes from 2015, except for a slight uptick in 8th grade reading scores. This test is given every two years to fourth and eighth graders in reading and math. It is not high-stakes, but it is the largest single test enabling a comparison of students across the country.

West Virginia. Oklahoma. Arizona. Teachers are organizing for better working conditions all over the country.

There is a red light flashing in professor Albert Ponce's cubby-sized office. The light comes from an old-fashioned answering machine.

Lately, he doesn't like to listen to the messages by himself. When he presses play, it's obvious why:

"Albert Ponce, you are a piece of s*** f****** gutter slug that needs his neck snapped, OK? Call me if you need me. I'll do it for ya."

"F****** race-baiting f****** piece of trash."

"I'm 54 years old and my paycheck is $1,980 [a month]. I can't afford f****** health insurance."

There's good news and bad news in the weekly education news roundup, so read on!

Thousands of teachers have government grants converted to loans

The week before winter break, snow is piled up around St. Louis Park High School, a low-slung, rambling brick complex in suburban Minneapolis. And more snow is falling.

This is a big, diverse school with proud roots. Alumni include Joel and Ethan Coen, who shot their semiautobiographical 2009 drama, A Serious Man, in this area, once a Jewish enclave, which today has immigrants from all over the world.

Money talks and students walk in this week's edition of the education news roundup.

National student march

Our latest NPR Ed video takes on that question so many parents are asking: How much time should my kid spend looking at phones and screens and tablets and TVs and ...

In a nutshell (and inspired by food writer Michael Pollan), my advice is:

"Enjoy screens. Not too much. Mostly together."

Nearly three-fourths of U.S. teachers do not want to carry guns in school, and they overwhelmingly favor gun control measures over security steps meant to "harden" schools, according to a new Gallup poll.

Hello and welcome to another edition of the weekly roundup. The nation's eyes have been on students this week, so let's check in.

National student walkout

"Why have you become, people say, the most hated Cabinet secretary?" Lesley Stahl asked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in a 60 Minutes interview that is drawing lots of attention.

"I'm not so sure how exactly that happened," DeVos responded in the interview, which aired Sunday night on CBS.

On Dec. 28, 2014, Leelah Alcorn died after walking into traffic on a highway near her hometown of Kings Mills, Ohio. The 17-year-old identified as transgender, and in a suicide note published online, which became national news, Alcorn wrote:

"The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren't treated the way I was, they're treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something."

More than half of transgender teachers face harassment or discrimination in the workplace, according to an NPR Ed survey of transgender and gender-nonconforming educators.

The survey of 79 trans and gender-nonconforming teachers from the U.S. and Canada found that the harassment they face ranges widely: from 20 percent who reported verbal harassment, to 17 percent who said they'd been asked to change how the present themselves, such as their clothing, to two teachers who said they'd been fired.

After Parkland, there have been many calls to make schools a "harder target" — for example, by arming teachers. But there's a decent amount of research out there on what actually makes schools safer, and most of it doesn't point to more guns.

"There was a girl in my class who had on dirty clothes. The other kids laughed at her but I played with her during recess."

That's an everyday act of kindness toward a child who is being ostracized. It was reported by an elementary school student who took part in a new, nationally-representative survey of children ages 9 to 11. The purpose was to capture not only the bad, but also the good of how children treat each other, and even a little bit of the why.

Here are some of the key findings:

"I am breaking an agreement between adults to honor a pact and an agreement I have with the children of Miami."

That was Alberto Carvalho's surprising statement today at an hours-long emergency meeting of the Miami-Dade County school board that was broadcast live. In it, the city's highly regarded superintendent said he is no longer interested in running New York City's public schools, the nation's largest school system.

Welcome to our weekly roundup of education news. This week, students and teachers made major headlines.

Survivors protest gun laws; Lawmakers offer solutions

While Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was on lockdown, with an active shooter in the building, students were on their phones.

Could anyone have stopped this? That's one of the biggest questions for schools and educators as the nation takes in the facts of the shooting in Parkland, Fla., that has left 17 dead and 23 injured.

A free day at the aquarium! For Marcey Morse, a mother of two, it sounded pretty good.

It was the fall of 2016, and Morse had received an email offering tickets, along with a warning about her children's education.

At that time, Morse's two kids were enrolled in an online, or "virtual," school called the Georgia Cyber Academy, run by a company called K12 Inc. About 275,000 students around the country attend these online public charter schools, run by for-profit companies, at taxpayers' expense.

Look up from this screen right now. Take a look around. On a bus. In a cafe. Even at a stoplight. Chances are, most of the other people in your line of sight are staring at their phones or other devices. And if they don't happen to have one out, it is certainly tucked away in a pocket or bag.

But are we truly addicted to technology? And what about our kids? It's a scary question, and a big one for scientists right now. Still, while the debate rages on, some doctors and technologists are focusing on solutions.

Almost as soon as they can focus past the end of their noses, babies today are waving at Grandpa on video chat and swiping the screens on all kinds of devices.

It's just plain unsettling to watch a baby in a stroller with an iPad. Especially when his mother is looking at her phone at the same time.

Hello and welcome to the latest, college-heavy edition of our weekly roundup of education news. First up ...

Michigan State University president, athletic director step down over sex-abuse scandal

"If something on their desk or in their pocket dings, rings or vibrates — they will lose focus."

"Students are doing so much in class, distraction and disruption isn't really something I worry about."

How should teachers — both K-12 and college — deal with the use of computers and phones by students in class?

On one hand, those sleek little supercomputers promise to connect us to all human knowledge. On the other hand, they are also scientifically designed by some of the world's top geniuses to feel as compelling as oxygen.

Hello! Welcome to our weekly roundup of all the education news you may have missed.

An online charter school is closing midyear

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