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:

Pro-Charter School Group Spent Nearly $6 Million in Media Blitz

Friday, July 18, 2014

The lobbying group that urged the state to support charter schools spent almost $6 million on advertisements this spring. Backers of the city's pre-k expansion were also heavy spenders.

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Comments [1]

Three 'Secret' Ingredients for a Successful Small School

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What makes the best of the city's small high schools so good? A new report concludes size alone doesn't cut it.

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Comments [4]

Investigators Exonerate School in Fatal Stabbing Case

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Faculty at the Bronx middle school where one student fatally stabbed another did not know about any bullying problems involving the two students, according to a report by the Special Commissioner of Investigation.

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Comments [1]

Calling All Middle Schoolers: City's Summer Programs Still Have Seats

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mayor de Blasio is encouraging families that haven't nailed down all of their summer plans to sign up for a few thousand seats that are still available in summer enrichment programs.

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Fatal Stabbing Highlights Persistent Problems at Bronx Middle School

Monday, July 14, 2014

But the problems at Intermediate School 117, where a student allegedly killed a classmate in June, aren't that different from those of any other struggling school in a tough neighborhood.

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Chancellor, Like Her Boss, Heading to Europe for Vacation

Friday, July 11, 2014

The city's top education official is heading to Spain for vacation next week. And the mayor will be just across the sea in Italy. Their spokespeople said their deputies will be fully in charge during their summer breaks.

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Comments [1]

NYC Chancellor Raises Standards for (Future) School Superintendents

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

New York City's Department of Education is raising the minimum requirements for the job of district superintendent with an eye towards strengthening the chain of command — and supports — running from the top all the way down to individual school principals.

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Comments [1]

Teen Accused of Killing Classmate Appears in Family Court

Monday, July 07, 2014

The Bronx 14-year-old's case is likely to proceed quickly now because of his age.

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More Art Teachers Coming Soon to NYC Schools

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Sometimes it's the art class that connects a student to school. And that's why the city is adding 120 new arts teachers at targeted middle and high schools next year.

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Comments [2]

NYC Schools Wrestle with 'Bad Math' on Trailer Count

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The city's Department of Education is vowing to remove hundreds of trailers from its public schools within the next five years. But critics are dubious, in part because the city doesn't even know how many students are using those trailers.

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Department of Ed Anxious About 'Avonte's Law' Door Alarms

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Department of Education said a bill requiring alarms on school doors would take away the discretion of principals, who might have valid reasons for opposing alarms. 

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What it Really Takes to Evaluate an NYC Teacher

Thursday, June 12, 2014

How do you judge whether a teacher is doing a good job? City principals are now following the state's new formula, which puts a lot of weight on classroom observations plus student test scores. Watching one evaluation in action, we saw just how complicated it can be.

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Comments [5]

Success Charter Network Puts New Siting Rules to the Test

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A state law requiring New York City to house charter schools inside regular school buildings — or pay for them to go elsewhere — faces its first test as the high-profile Success network seeks to expand.

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Why NYC Is Afraid Of Free Lunch For All

Monday, June 09, 2014

A federal program to extend free lunch to all kids has the city worried it could lose federal dollars to pay for other things.

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This Week in Politics: Crime and Punishment

Saturday, June 07, 2014

WNYC

The balance of power in Albany starts to tilt

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Critics Warn City's School Construction Plan Comes Up Short

Friday, June 06, 2014

A new report claims Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration is on the verge of making the same mistakes made by his predecessors by not building enough school seats to keep up with demand.

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Comments [2]

Avonte Oquendo's Mother Files Wrongful Death Suit Against City

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

The mother of an autistic boy who disappeared from his school last October has filed a wrongful death suit against the city, the Department of Education and the police department.

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On Teachers in Limbo, Contract Satisfies Few

Friday, May 30, 2014

There are more than one thousand New York City teachers rotating weekly to different schools because they don't have a permanent position. The union contract takes a crack at a solution. 

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Comments [7]

Offers for Gifted and Talented Programs Increase, Disparities Persist

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A higher number of students received offers for a seat in a gifted and talented program but the total number of students was smaller than last year. Families have until June 6 to grab one of the coveted seats.

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NYC Drama Teachers Meet Their Idol

Friday, May 23, 2014

Drama teachers from across New York City were thrilled to get a master class with Stephen Sondheim. But it was the Broadway legend who got emotional praising their work.

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