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:

NYC Chancellor Shakes Up School Superintendents

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chancellor Carmen Fariña fulfilled her pledged to strengthen the role of school superintendents, the principals' bosses, by filling seven vacancies and replacing eight others.
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Overcrowded and Overwhelmed: Inside P.S. 176

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How do you fit 22 third graders in a room the size of a Manhattan studio apartment? Ask P.S. 176 in Brooklyn. It's one of hundreds of crowded schools that can't catch a break.
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Comments [3]

New York Regents Approve Career-Focused Diploma Requirements

Monday, October 20, 2014

New York high schoolers will be able to swap out a history test required for graduation for an exam of their choice, in subjects such as information technology or culinary arts.
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Comments [1]

This Week in Politics: Is Cuomo Pandering?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

WNYC
The Governor gives another reason why there's no campaign finance reform, and wants women and Latinos to know he's on their side.

Comments [2]

Mayor De Blasio Weighs Admissions Changes for Top High Schools

Friday, October 17, 2014

The debate over admissions policies at New York City's most elite high schools has flared up again, as current eighth graders consider their options.
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Comments [5]

Resignation Raises Questions About City's Plan to Help Failing Schools, or Lack Thereof

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The departure of the Boys and Girls High School principal last week has sparked a debate about how far the chancellor will go to fix New York City's struggling schools.
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Shooting Near School Sparks Call for More Police

Friday, October 10, 2014

More than a week after a school's parent coordinator was wounded in gunfire, the head of her union is calling for more of a police presence outside city schools.
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Comments [2]

State Commish Says Charter Schools Limit May Be Flexible

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Education Commissioner John King suggested a way for New York City to get around the limit on charter schools, on the same day he visited a program to improve its district schools.
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Comments [3]

City Nears Charter Cap as 17 More Schools Win Approval

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

While the State University of New York panel in charge of charter schools voted for more to open, its members said they would closely monitor the schools' progress. 
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Comments [2]

Change in Admissions Rules Muddles NYC Middle School Search

Monday, October 06, 2014

State test scores won't count as much as they used to in middle school admissions. The change means dozens of the city's top middle schools are devising new formulas, and fast.
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Comments [6]

City Moves to Fire Accused Brooklyn Tech Teacher

Friday, October 03, 2014

The city said it moved this week to fire the Brooklyn Tech high school teacher accused of sex crimes, but it's not clear why this didn't happen when he was first arrested in August.
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Comment

Thousands Rally to Support Better Schools, with Mixed Messages

Thursday, October 02, 2014

The parents and students who rallied in lower Manhattan on Thursday said they wanted better city schools of all types, but many were also calling for more charter schools.
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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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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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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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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]