Streams

Beth Fertig

Beth Fertig is WNYC’s Contributing Editor for Education.  She previously covered politics, which included City Hall during the Giuliani administration, and the U.S. Senate campaigns of Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton. She also covered transportation and infrastructure.

Beth reported on education on and off during those years.  She began covering education full-time in 2009 to document Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s school reforms.

"If New York City’s public schools were a city, they’d be one of the ten largest cities in the United States," she says.  With over a million students and another couple of hundred thousand employees the Department of Education is a fascinating microcosm or macrocosm.  And with the Obama Administration’s interest in school reform, there is a lot happening in education right now."

Beth is a New York City native who discovered her love for journalism at her college newspaper at the University of Michigan. She also has a Master’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. Her first job after college was as a reporter for a chain of weekly newspapers in the Boston suburbs. Her boss told her she had a flair for quoting people exactly the way they spoke, so she began interning at the former Monitor Radio network to see if she would enjoy working in radio. She did and she hasn’t looked back since.

Beth is a frequent contributor to National Public Radio. She’s won many local and national awards, including the prestigious Alfred I. duPont Columbia University Award for Broadcast Journalism for her series of reports on an effort to privatize some struggling city schools. She also won an Edward R. Murrow award for an investigation of a subway fire. And she’s won awards from the city's Deadline Club, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the New York Press Club -- which gave her a special award after the 2001 terrorist attacks for a profile on the friendship of two WTC survivors. Beth was also sent on loan to public radio station KRVS in Lafayette, Louisiana in 2005 to cover the cleanup and recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina.

In 2008, Beth took time off from WNYC to write her first book. It’s called "Why cant u teach me 2 read? Three Students and a Mayor Put Our Schools to the Test" and was published in the fall of 2009 by FSG Books. The book grew out of a 2006 WNYC radio series on the low graduation rate for special education students.

Beth is also a regular contributor to Schoolbook.org, WNYC's Web site about K-12 education in New York City. You can follow her on twitter @bethfertig.

Blogs:

Beth Fertig appears in the following:

City Opposes More Environmental Oversight Rules for Schools

Thursday, April 24, 2014

An effort to increase oversight of environmental risks inside school buildings is meeting resistance from city officials who balk at the additional regulation and costs.

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Comment

City Finds Buildings For 'Homeless' Charter Schools

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Two charter schools that were blocked from opening this fall inside other public schools will open in former Catholic school buildings instead, under a new plan from City Hall.

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Comment

Free Lunch For All Students Gets Boost from Council Budget

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

All New York City students soon could be eating lunch for free, if the mayor chooses to embrace a City Council proposal to spend about $24 million while also tapping into a federal program that reduces the stigma -- and paperwork - of free lunches.

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Comments [1]

Teachers Sound Off on State English Tests

Monday, April 21, 2014

Some city educators object to the New York's recent English exams for grades 3-8, but that doesn't mean they're opposed to higher standards.

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Comments [10]

Accordions, Clarinets and a Xylophone for City Schools

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

WXQR listeners donated about 2,500 instruments.

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Comments [1]

A Pay Raise for Pre-K Teachers

Monday, April 14, 2014

As part of his pre-k expansion, Mayor de Blasio is setting aside $10 million in state funds to increase teacher pay.

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Comment

Push for School Door Alarms Hits Wall

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The disappearance and death of the autistic teenager Avonte Oquendo has led to a proposal to install door alarms in schools, but at what cost?

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Comment

New Group Defends Common Core

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Common Core has come under intense criticism lately. Enter a new group that wants to sway public opinion in support of the tougher learning standards.

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Comments [13]

NYC Chancellor: Matchmaking Makes Better Schools

Monday, April 07, 2014

Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina is acting as matchmaker-in-chief, pairing struggling school leaders with colleague-mentors. "You know it's one thing to read a book about how you should be doing things...it's quite another thing to go into a classroom and see them working," she said. 

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Comment

Teachers Weigh In, Mostly Against, State English Tests

Friday, April 04, 2014

A small but vocal number of teachers is claiming this year's New York State Common Core English tests were once again obscure and too difficult for students in grades three through eight.

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Comments [5]

City Launches Pre-K Expansion, Adding Four Thousand New Seats

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to expand pre-kindergarten became more tangible on Wednesday when the city announced there would be thousands more full-day seats available in public schools this fall.

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Comment

Changing the Face of Astronomy

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

NPR

The City University of New York is helping students reach for the stars, literally. Hear more about a program that mentors minority students interested in Astronomy. 

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Changing The Face Of Astronomy Research

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

An apprenticeship program in New York City helps lower-income and minority students break into advanced sciences. For one, the love of the stars was motivation to tackle the tough field of astronomy.

Comments [1]

Mayor Insists After-School Expansion Is Alive and Well

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Although funding for after-school programs did not survive Albany's budget negotiations, city officials insist they will find the money to expand offerings for middle school students.

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Comment

Pre-K Supporters Call State Budget a 'Win.' So Do Charter Schools.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Reactions to the state budget deal announced on Saturday flooded in, many of them applauding the new money to expand pre-kindergarten seats across the city and the additional support for charter schools.

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School Investigation Sheds Light on Avonte's Disappearance

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Avonte Oquendo's classroom teacher knew the autistic boy's mother worried he might run away, but the teacher never shared that information.

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Comment

Charter Lobbyists Disclose Some Spending

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The group that paid for a multi-million dollar round of television ads promoting charter schools said it isn't required to disclose all of its expenses as lobbying.

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Comment

Mayor Continues to Defend, Define Position on Charters

Monday, March 24, 2014

Following his more conciliatory remarks on charter schools at Riverside Church on Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer he believes there is room for charters to grow so long as co-locations are fairly handled.

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Comment

De Blasio Softens Rhetoric on Charters

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The mayor said "They are all our children, they all deserve a solution" during a speech at Riverside Church in Harlem on Sunday.

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New Schools Squad Will Try to Broker Peace

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What do you do when numerous schools share the same building? 

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Comments [1]