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.
WXQR listeners donated about 2,500 instruments.
As part of his pre-k expansion, Mayor de Blasio is setting aside $10 million in state funds to increase teacher pay.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Avonte Oquendo's classroom teacher knew the autistic boy's mother worried he might run away, but the teacher never shared that information.
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.
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.
The mayor said "They are all our children, they all deserve a solution" during a speech at Riverside Church in Harlem on Sunday.
What do you do when numerous schools share the same building?
Just as education officials say they want to get rid of all classroom trailers, at least one school community in Queens said it knows the outdoor units are here to stay, for a while longer anyway.
More families are applying to programs in public schools than last year, in a potential sign of optimism that Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver on his vow to provide universal pre-kindergarten for all four-year olds.
Education officials outlined top priorities for the next five years and they boiled down to this: seats, seats and more seats to address overcrowding. After that, nicer bathrooms and new science labs.
Mayor Bill de Blasio joined worshipers Sunday at two different East Harlem congregations to mourn those who died in the explosion that destroyed a pair of buildings last week.