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.
With both sides saying they are fighting for the children, Eva Moskowitz and Mayor de Blasio continue to spar over plans for a charter school that he has rejected and now she is suing to open.
You may or may not know that it's rare for students outside of Manhattan's School District 2 to get into one of the district's best high schools. We have a chart that shows you just how rare.
If past is prologue, about three quarters of students applying to public high schools will be accepted to one of their top three choices. But could that number be even higher if applicants spread out their choices?
Who's controlling the narrative in the charter school debate? WNYC's Beth Fertig and Robert Lewis explain the role of prominent charter booster Eva Moskowitz; where pro-charter funding comes from; and why this has become such a flashpoint between Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo.
Charter schools come in a variety of shapes and sizes so it's only natural that their response to a new mayor should be complicated. Tuesday's rally showcased one faction of the movement; other charter schools are taking a different approach.
Tuesday was education day in Albany, with dueling rallies and swarms of advocates lobbying state lawmakers for their support of universal pre-k and charter schools.
State tests don't start until April 1 but are very much on the minds of teachers and students now. To ease their anxiety a little the leader of the NYC school system is telling them to chill out, and have a sense of humor about the dreaded standardized tests.
In response to a request for proposals, the Department of Education said potentially it could open 29,000 full-day seats this fall, well over the mayor's initial target. But the issue of money -- and the rush to expand -- remain causes for concern.
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said she and about 100 charter school leaders had a productive first meeting but there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the future of these privately managed schools in the city.
The Department of Education is moving to fire the principal of a Queens elementary school who investigators say was routinely absent or late, and doctored her time-cards.
The governor's latest line of attack marks a new phase in his assault on Mayor de Blasio's push to tax wealthy city residents to fund pre-k. And Cuomo appears to have the upper hand.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was surprised by the cold this week. His pre-k plan is getting an icy push back from Governor Cuomo, reporters are grilling him at length, his Schools Chancellor is being mocked for saying "it's a beautiful day" in the middle of a sleet storm, and even ...
The NYC mayor said he was ready for battle despite signs in Albany that his tax plan for expanding pre-kindergarten may have hit a roadblock.
Geoffrey Canada, the nationally recognized educator who founded the Harlem Children's Zone and inspired President Obama to offer similar programs, is handing over day-to-day operations to his second in command.
Mayor de Blasio said more native New Yorkers should be tapping into the city's high-tech industry so he's looking to create a two-year STEM associates program at the City University of New York to help them.
Charter schools were the darling of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who allowed them to co-locate inside regular public school buildings. But two lawsuits are trying to stop 28 more charters from opening this coming fall, putting pressure on a new mayor who is less enamored with the privately-run public schools.
The head of the city’s public schools has agreed to her first meeting with the local charter school community.
Getting blow-back from their constituents and teachers unions, state lawmakers are calling for a moratorium on any high-stakes decisions based on the new Common Core learning standards.
The mayor said he's shifting funding at the Dept. of Education to reflect his priorities, namely pre-k seats and smaller class sizes. "We're not spending the $200 million-plus on charter expansion," he told WNYC's Brian Lehrer.
In a shift in priorities from the Bloomberg years, Chancellor Carmen Fariña wants to use funds that previously went to help charter schools for expanding pre-k seats and for reducing class sizes. The funds were included as part of the chancellor's revisions to the Department of Education's next five-year capital plan.