Anya Kamenetz

Anya Kamenetz is an education correspondent at NPR. She joined NPR in 2014, working as part of a new initiative to coordinate on-air and online coverage of learning. Since then the NPR Ed team has won a 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for Innovation, and a 2015 National Award for Education Reporting for the multimedia national collaboration, the Grad Rates project.

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 touched on student loans, innovations to address cost, quality, and access in higher education, and issues of assessment and excellence: 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 and Slate, and appeared in documentaries shown on PBS and CNN.

On a summer afternoon, Ciara Whelan, a teacher at a New York City elementary school, knocks on the apartment door of one of her students in the Bronx.

Melissa, the student's mother, welcomes her guest with a huge platter of snacks — shrimp rolls and dill dip. Melissa explains that this past school year — third grade — her daughter, Sapphira, fell behind in her reading because she got a phone and spent too much time messaging her friends on apps like TikTok. (We're not using their last names to protect the student's privacy.)

Anya Kamenetz is an NPR education correspondent, a host of Life Kit and author of The Art Of Screen Time. This story draws from the book and recent reporting for Life Kit's guide, Parenting: Screen Time And Your Family.

Elise Potts picked up her 17-month-old daughter, Eliza, from daycare recently. When they got home they were greeted by a strange scene.

This story was adapted from an episode from a Life Kit podcast, Parenting: Raising Awesome Kids.

Are humans born kind?

We both assumed, as parents of young children, that kindness is just something our kids would pick up by osmosis, because we love them. It's a common assumption.

This story is based on an episode of NPR's Life Kit.

Geoff and Ellie live in a suburban Chicago neighborhood that looks familiar from movies like Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller's Day Off — both filmed in the area.

They have three kids — Nathan, 5, Benji, 11, and Abby, 14 — and they're worried that all three are too into their screens.

An all-too-common experience

During the 2016 election, Bernie Sanders stood out as one of the first major presidential contenders to call for making college free.

For 2020, Sanders is at it again. Ahead of tonight's debate, he proposed not only eliminating tuition at public colleges, but canceling Americans' outstanding student loan debt — all $1.6 trillion.

Kyle Kashuv, one of the survivors of the mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla., applied and was accepted into Harvard University.

His acceptance, however, was rescinded after Harvard discovered that Kashuv, now 18, used racial slurs in texts, Skype conversations and Google documents when he was 16.

Here's why people are talking about Kashuv's case.

A Parkland survivor turned activist

A version of this story was originally published in 2018 and has been updated.

They are popular. They are controversial. And now, video games have just become an internationally recognized addiction.

On May 25, the World Health Organization officially voted to adopt the latest edition of its International Classification of Diseases, or ICD, to include an entry on "gaming disorder" as a behavioral addiction.

Ask Cookie Monster to demonstrate self-control? Sounds like the setup to a joke. The blue, furry monster we grew up with was pure id.

But in recent years, Cookie has evolved as Sesame Workshop has sharpened its focus on social and emotional skills. Research shows that at least half a child's success is determined by those skills. Life Kit: Parenting has been looking at strategies for helping kids learn emotional self-regulation and self-control, so we called in Cookie for help.

NPR / YouTube

Ask Cookie Monster to demonstrate self-control? Sounds like the setup to a joke. The blue, furry monster we grew up with was pure id.

NPR is doing a series of stories about young people and screen time, and we'd like to hear your questions and concerns.

We want to hear from families who are dealing with tech overuse, such as video game or social media obsessions that affect young people's lives. We will call in experts and help you answer your questions.

We'd also like to talk with parents about their own relationship with technology as it affects their parenting.

NPR/Ipsos conducted a national poll recently and found that more than 8 in 10 teachers — and a similar majority of parents — support teaching kids about climate change.

But in reality, it's not always happening: Fewer than half of K-12 teachers told us that they talk about climate change with their children or students. Again, parents were about the same.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has issued another big policy proposal as part of her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. This one concerns higher education.

Warren proposes that the federal government write off hundreds of billions of dollars in existing student loan debt.

More than 80% of parents in the U.S. support the teaching of climate change. And that support crosses political divides, according to the results of an exclusive new NPR/Ipsos poll: Whether they have children or not, two-thirds of Republicans and 9 in 10 Democrats agree that the subject needs to be taught in school.

A separate poll of teachers found that they are even more supportive, in theory — 86% agree that climate change should be taught.

If you're naming top colleges, you might not think of the City University of New York right away. It's not selective — it serves what one former official called "the top 100 percent." It also has a pretty low graduation rate.

But if you look deeper, at metrics like diversity and sheer number of lives changed, then CUNY can make a strong case.

For the second time in as many years, the nation is in the midst of a frenzy over who gets to sleep in the extra-long twin beds at a tiny fraction of highly selective colleges and universities. Last year, it was a lawsuit over Harvard University's admissions process, particularly its treatment of Asian-Americans.

With Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty on one side and bulbous-headed Fart Ninjas on the other, the gender divide was impossible to avoid at the North American International Toy Fair in New York City back in February.

The light-up Barbie mermaids vying for space with Gatling-style foam-dart blasters in Manhattan's Javits Center raised a question: Have toys really progressed since our grandparents' days? And how do the toys we play with shape the people we grow up to be?

You're reading NPR's weekly roundup of education news.

President Trump pivots to higher education this week

On Thursday, President Trump signed an executive order that could affect a few areas of higher education: from data collection to free speech.

It's no secret that wealth brings advantages when it comes to sending your kids to college. Rich and famous parents can donate large sums of money to schools or lean on their names and connections. Some ritzy colleges explicitly prefer the children and grandchildren of alumni — at Harvard University, an investigation found last year that these "legacy" admits were over five times more likely to get in than the average Joe.

I know she died, but when is Grandma coming back?

Why is your skin darker than Mommy's?

Why do we live here but Daddy doesn't?

Are you the tooth fairy?

Anyone with kids in their life knows what it's like to be surprised by a tough question. It can come at any time, often when you least expect it: at breakfast, at bedtime or from the back seat.

The current wave of teacher walkouts started a year ago this week, when educators across West Virginia were out of the classroom for nine days. The movement spread to five more states before the school year was over.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) Five percent won't pay the rent. Five percent won't pay the rent.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The overuse of technology has overtaken drugs, sex and bullying as the biggest parental worry, according to the annual Brigham Young and Deseret News American Family Survey.

But what are we actually supposed to be doing about it?

Jordan Shapiro, a Temple University professor whose background is in philosophy and psychology, has a prescription that might surprise you. In his new book, The New Childhood, his argument is that we're not spending enough screen time with our kids.

A federal commission led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recommends rescinding Obama-era guidance intended to reduce racial discrimination in school discipline. And, DeVos says, it urges schools to "seriously consider partnering with local law enforcement in the training and arming of school personnel."

Students in U.S. schools were less likely to be suspended in 2016 than they were in 2012. But the progress is incremental, and large gaps — by race and by special education status — remain.

This data comes from an analysis of federal data for NPR in partnership with the nonprofit organization Child Trends. And it comes as the Trump administration is preparing the final report from a school safety commission that is expected to back away from or rescind Obama-era guidance intended to reduce racial disparities in school discipline.

Yassiry Gonzalez goes to bed early. But often she wakes up around 1 or 2 in the morning. And from then on, sometimes all the way through dawn, the New York City high school student is on her phone — on FaceTime with close friends, or looking through Instagram.

"Sometimes, I'm so tired that I'll just fall asleep in school." She estimates the all-nighters happen once or twice a week. And on the weekends? "There's no sleep. No sleep."

Looking back, 2018 may be the year that a critical mass of people started wondering: Am I spending too much time on my phone?

The U.S. Department of Education is sending emails to about 15,000 people across the country telling them: You've got money.

You're reading NPR's weekly roundup of education news.

New guidelines for campus sexual assault enforcement are open for public comment

Every time Bill Zima, superintendent of schools in Hallowell, Maine, sends an email, it has this sentence under his signature: "Cultivating Hope In All Learners."

This is his school district's philosophy. It means something very specific. Zima got it from a YouTube video.

"A colleague sent it to me. It was a guy in a three-piece suit standing in front of a podium that said Business Summit To Drive Education Reform. I thought, ugh, this is going to be a bashing of public education."

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