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:

Chancellor's New Rating System Puts Her Mark on City Schools

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Chancellor Carmen Fariña's overhaul of school report cards replaces former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's data-driven approach with a more qualitative system.
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New School Ratings System Eliminates Grades, Emphasizes Quality Reviews

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña outlined a new way to evaluate schools that minimizes tests scores in favor of more qualitative measures.
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NYC Admits it Needs to Keep Tabs on School Counselors

Monday, September 29, 2014

It's no secret that high school guidance counselors are overburdened, but a City Council bill seeks the raw data to prove it.
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How Should NYC Lift the Ban on Cell Phones in Schools?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mayor de Blasio is still figuring out how to lift the ban on cell phones in schools, but New Yorkers had plenty to say in the meantime on WNYC's Brian Lehrer show.
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Comments [2]

Chancellor to Schools: Focus on Social Studies

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New York City schools are being encouraged to put more focus on geography and to use more engaging books, in an update to the system's curriculum for social studies.
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Comment

Mayor de Blasio Issues Stern Warning After Special Ed Teen Disappears from School

Thursday, September 18, 2014

NYC officials are investigating what went wrong at the special ed school where a teenager managed to leave undetected almost a year after the tragic disappearance of Avonte Oquendo.
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Comment

Regents Weigh New Routes to a High School Diploma

Monday, September 15, 2014

High school students may finally be allowed to swap out one of the five Regents exams required for graduation for an alternative test that meets their interests or area of study.
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Comments [2]

New York City Charter Schools Test New Rent Rules

Friday, September 12, 2014

Charter schools that rent market-rate spaces are testing their new right to free space in public buildings. If the city can't make room for them, it will have to cover the costs. 
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Comments [2]

Judge Approves Merger of Teacher Tenure Lawsuits in New York

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Two lawsuits challenging teacher tenure rules in the state will be consolidated, allowing both of them to proceed in a Staten Island courthouse.
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New York Allows Charters to Grow Inside Shared School Buildings

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration has agreed to let four more charter schools take space in public school buildings, including two run by Eva Moskowitz's Success network.
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Comment

NYC Mayor Takes Victory Lap as School Opens with Expanded Pre-K

Thursday, September 04, 2014

The rhetoric soared on this first day of school, as Mayor de Blasio claimed to be laying a new foundation for the children and the city of New York.
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Comments [1]

NYC School Year Starts with New Mayor's Imprint

Thursday, September 04, 2014

New York City public schools open with more than 50,000 4-year-olds heading to pre-k classes — but that's just one of several changes marking the new school year.
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Comments [1]

New Schedule in NYC Schools Makes Time for Teaching the Teachers

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

New York City teachers will spend more time learning from each other and less time in the classroom. Can 150 minutes a week make a real difference to teachers and their students?
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Comments [6]

Principals Union Sees Back Pay as Stumbling Block in Contract Talks

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The union representing New York's principals claimed the city is unfairly trying to squeeze its members out of raises they're entitled to from when they worked as teachers.
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NYC Families Scramble to Adjust to New School Start and End Times

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Changing the school day by 40 minutes might not sound like a big deal, but it can throw a wrench into the schedule for busy New York City families.
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Comments [2]

School Year Underway at Most NYC Charters Schools

Monday, August 25, 2014

A wave of charter schools welcomed thousands of students to the first day of school on Monday, ahead of the city's regular district schools which open next week.
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Comments [3]

Reporter's Notebook: Robin Williams in 1996

Friday, August 22, 2014

WNYC's Contributing Editor for Education, Beth Fertig, recalls spending time with Robin Williams in 1996 when he visited children in a hospital. His joy can be heard in the clips.

Comments [1]

School Bus Drivers To Get Salary Boost

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The City Council voted to give bus companies $42 million — which makes some worried about setting a bad precedent.
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It's Not Just About the Test: A Teacher Talks About the Classroom

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jose Vilson wants the public to hear more from teachers. That's why he wrote a book.
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NYC's Special Ed Reform Moving Slowly

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Special needs kids are supposed to be integrated with the whole school population. It's federal law. But so far, the city is behind.
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