Beth Fertig

Senior Reporter, WNYC News

Beth Fertig appears in the following:

Promising Study on Oysters in Jamaica Bay

Monday, August 10, 2009

A new study is looking at whether Jamaica Bay's oyster population can be brought back to life. Long a staple of the New York waterways, oysters were demolished by pollution and over-harvesting during the last hundred years. A few groups have been trying to bring ...


Ice Factory Festival

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer used to mean downtime for New York theater. But in the past decade or so, it’s become much busier -- thanks to a few Off Off Broadway festivals. In SoHo, the Ice Factory festival is midway through its six-week run. As WNYC’s Beth Fertig ...


Mayoral Control - The Deal is Done

Friday, July 24, 2009

It was a feud in which the mayor was accused or being a "dictator" and acting like he ran a "plantation." And Bloomberg called legislators' proposal for a parent training institute a "slush fund." But in the end, both sides got what they wanted.

Senate Democrats and the Bloomberg Administration finally struck a deal Friday afternoon on renewing mayoral control of the schools (or what some senators prefer to call "school governance").

The Senate will return to Albany in August and vote on the same bill the assembly passed in June. They'll also take up an amendment, which the Assembly will have to also approve at some later point. The amendment calls for:

1) A parent training center, with an annual budget of $1.6 million and run by the City University of New York.
2) An Arts Advisory Committee to make recommendations and an annual report on educational policies involving the arts.
3) Clarification of the role of local superintendents in reviewing principals.
4) Annual public meetings of each school's safety committee. The Senators had originally wanted a citywide committee that would study police in the schools. This agreement puts the focus on each individual school to do more to involve parents. Harlem Senator Bill Perkins said he still had concerns about this point, and hoped there would be more discussions.

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Boro Presidents Urge Board of Ed to Start Working

Friday, July 24, 2009

With the state Senate gone for the summer, and no sign of a deal on mayoral control of the schools, three of the city's borough presidents want the new Board of Education to get to work.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Brooklyn Borough President Marty ...


Bloomberg, Senate Reach Deal on Mayoral Control of School

Friday, July 24, 2009

The State Senate has finally agreed to vote on a bill renewing mayoral control of the city schools. Senate Democrats were holding up the vote because some of their members wanted changes to the bill passed in the Assembly. They succeeded in persuading the Bloomberg ...


Comptroller Questions City’s Graduation Rates

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg and his leading Democratic opponent are trading jabs over Bloomberg's education record. WNYC's Beth Fertig has more.

REPORTER: A new audit by City Comptroller William Thompson's office questions whether graduates are really completing all their requirements. Thompson accused the Bloomberg administration of cooking the ...


Comptroller Questions City's Graduation Rates

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg has made improving the city's public schools a central theme of his mayoralty and his bid for a third term. But one of his Democratic rivals, Comptroller Bill Thompson, is now questioning Bloomberg's track record.

The Comptroller's office released a withering audit of the city's graduation rates. The report sampled graduates from the class of 2007, in a way that was supposed to be statistically representative of the city. Thompson called the NYC Department of Education "the Enron of education, showing the gains and hiding the losses."

Out of 197 graduates, 36 took the same major subject classes two or more times and received credit for each passing grade. One student failed English 3, for example, but passed English 4 twice and received a credit for each course. Another received two credits for passing Global History 1 two times but this same student didn't take Global History 4.

The audit also found 19 graduates whose transcripts were incomplete. The Department of Education was eventually able to confirm that 17 of those students really did meet graduation requirements based on evidence from their schools. As for receiving credit despite taking the same class twice, the Department's response to the auditors said "what the Comptroller largely identified were repeated course codes, not repeats of the same class."

But Thompson said those answers didn't clear up one big concern:

"There are a number of questions as to what the real graduation rate is. And I don't think that, given the level of documentation with the Department of Education, given the level of documentation on the school level, I'm not sure exactly what the graduation rate is."

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Mayoral Control - How the Deal Fell Apart

Monday, July 20, 2009

Albany's leadership crisis is apparently far from over, judging from what took place this week as lawmakers failed to pass a bill to extend Mayor Bloomberg's control of the city schools.

According to sources involved in the negotiations, once the Democrats reclaimed control of the Senate on July 9th they agreed to vote this week on the same bill the Assembly passed last month. That bill would continue mayoral control with a few checks and balances, such as making the Independent Budget Office responsible for tracking school data.

But some Senate Democrats wanted more changes. The three amendments they proposed called for changes such as a council to monitor police in schools, another council to promote the arts , and a new parent training institute to help parents (and students) navigate the school system.

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State Senate Session Ends

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lawmakers passed hundreds of bills in a session that lasted until the wee hours of the morning.

But they failed to pass a bill renewing mayor Bloomberg's control of the city schools.

Joining me now to talk about that AND what the Senate DID accomplish is WNYC ...


Senate Rejects Alt. School Bill; Mayoral Control Uncertain

Friday, July 17, 2009

While Senators passed dozens of bills they could not reach an agreement on legislation to reinstate mayoral control of the New York City schools.

In a vote early this morning, the Senate overwhelmingly rejected an alternative that would have established an expanded city education board that ...


State Senate Blows Another Opportunity to Vote on Legislation

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Despite scheduling a session today, the state senate has yet to meet.

Republicans say Democrats refuse to come to the floor.

One of the most contentious issues remains mayoral control of the New York City schools. Democrats have proposed three different amendments to a bill the Assembly ...


NYS Senate Nears Mayoral Control Vote

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Democrats who narrowly control the New York State Senate are getting closer to voting on a bill to extend mayoral control of the city schools, two weeks after the law expired during the leadership feud in Albany. WNYC's Beth Fertig has more.

REPORTER: A handful of ...


Bloomberg Schools Ad: It's All About Location

Monday, July 13, 2009

By now, you might have gotten one of those ubiquitous mailings from the Bloomberg campaign touting the mayor’s success with the public schools. This “Progress Report” boasts of math scores that are up 42 percentage points and reading scores up 28 percentage points since Bloomberg took office.

Well, a public ...

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Study Shows Link Between Fitness and Higher Scores in Math and Reading

Monday, July 13, 2009

Students who are physically fit are more likely to do better on their math and reading tests than students who are not in good shape, according to a joint study by the city's health and education departments. WNYC's Beth Fertig reports.

The study looked at students ...


Schools Chief Accountability Officer Resigns

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The architect of the controversial A through F grading system for city schools is stepping down. WNYC's Beth Fertig has more.

REPORTER: James Liebman is a civil rights lawyer who was hired by Chancellor Klein three years ago to build an $80 million computer network called ...


Report: Students Without Metal Detectors Safer

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Students at schools without metal detectors are safer, and do better, than students at schools with the scanners -- that's according to a new study by the New York Civil Liberties Union and researchers from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform. They looked at six ...


NYC Museum Saves (DNA of) Endangered Species

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Julie Feinstein, Manager of the Ambrose Monell Collection at the American Museum of Natural History, shows off a cryovat filled with liquid nitrogen that’s used for storing frozen tissue samples from endangered species.

Julie Feinstein, Manager of the Ambrose Monell Collection ...


Senator Sampson Says He Wants to "Enhance" Not "End" Mayoral Control

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The head of the Senate's Democratic conference says he doesn't want to "end" mayoral control. Brooklyn State Senator John Sampson told WNYC's Brian Lehrer he just wants to "enhance" it.

SAMPSON: We're not trying to prevent the mayor from having control of the Department of Education ...


Natural History Museum Stores Endangered Species Tissues

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tissue samples from endangered species will now be stored at the Museum of Natural History, under a new agreement with the U.S. Parks Service. The museum already freezes its own samples taken from whales, butterflies, and other creatures in seven cryovats. They look like giant, ...


Protesters Call for School Chancellor's Resignation

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein is still in office, after the new Board of Education voted to keep him last week, when mayoral control of the schools technically expired. But some demonstrators are urging him to leave.

A few dozen parents, teachers and students protested outside ...