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:

Union Claims Weak Teachers Are Shown the Door

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

With teacher tenure under scrutiny, the New York City teachers union claimed more teachers leave the system because of disciplinary action than previously reported, even if few teachers are actually fired.

 

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Teacher Tenure Fight Spills Into N.Y., Where A New Lawsuit Brews

Monday, July 28, 2014

A new salvo has been fired in the fight over teacher tenure. A group led by former TV anchor Campbell Brown filed a complaint in New York state court, arguing that tenure laws are preventing the state from providing every child with the "sound, basic education" its constitution guarantees.

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Tales Of Migration Explore Modern-Day Odysseys And 'Hyphenated Identities'

Monday, July 28, 2014

The transition from one part of the world to another is filled with anticipation, conflict and drama. These trips can herald life-changing transformations for families seeking out better lives.

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Teacher Tenure Lawsuits Spread From California To New York

Monday, July 28, 2014

Why are so many low-income and minority kids getting second-class educations in the U.S.? That question is at the center of the heated debate about tenure protections and who gets them.

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Medicare's Costs Stabilize, But Its Problems Are Far From Fixed

Monday, July 28, 2014

Medicare's trust fund is projected to have money until 2030, four years longer than predicted last year. But the fund that pays for disability benefits could run dry just two years from now.

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Teacher Tenure Fight Comes to New York City

Monday, July 28, 2014

WNYC

A group of New York City parents said they joined in a lawsuit over the state's tenure rules on Monday because they think their children are not getting what they deserve at school. 

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Council Passes Limited School Door Alarm Bill

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Schools with vulnerable or troubled students should be getting more door alarms installed next year as a way to prevent them from leaving the building undetected.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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