SA 024: Anya Kamenetz, NPR’s Digital Education Reporter on Standardized Testing in Schools, Student Debt, and Writing Habits

Anya Kamenetz

In this episode, Anya Kamenetz, NPR’s Digital Education Reporter, shares her perspectives on education through her books, the latest being “The Test,” about the past, present and future of testing in American schools. This is important when we talk of creating stakes for students and creating an entrepreneurial mindset for the new economy. She also talks about her writing habits and how she got published.

Guest Bio:

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 latest book, The Test (PublicAffairs, 2015), is about the past, present and future of testing in American schools.

Learning, Freedom and the Web, The Edupunks’Guide, and the Edupunks’ Atlas 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.


Some Questions We Ask:

  • What got her interested in writing about education and really diving into that subject matter?
  • Why she wrote her book The Test and why she think it’s so important
  • When she hears the word “successful,” what’s the first thing or person that comes to mind?
  • What’s her favorite book, and why?
  • If she could have dinner with one person she admires, past or present, who would it be, and why?

What You’ll Learn In this Episode:

  • Her book  “Generation Debt” and its impact on the conversation on education
  • Her latest book “The Test” and what Anya found out when she was doing her research
  • Anya’s process for writing and doing research

Sign up for Anya’s newsletter:


Sweet Adversity podcast review
For instructions on how to rate and review the podcast, click this link.


Leave a Comment

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This