Beth Fertig

Senior Reporter, WNYC News

Beth Fertig appears in the following:

City Could Cut Thousands of Classroom Jobs in Spite of Stimulus

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg says he's optimistic about the federal stimulus package, but he still may need to cut up to 15,000 classroom positions. WNYC's Beth Fertig reports.

REPORTER: The mayor repeatedly said it's too early to know what will happen. But he said layoffs might be necessary ...

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Politics or Theater?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Budget season is always a drama. Every January the mayor proposes cuts that are staunchly opposed by various constituent groups. Public hearings are held in the City Council. Then, by the spring, the mayor issues a revised budget restoring some of the cuts and the Council votes. Some call it the annual "budget dance."

But this year's dance is more like a high-stakes version of "Dancing with the Stars." On one side, there's Mayor Bloomberg saying the city's perilous economy could force him to cut  23,000 jobs from city agencies - 15,000 of which would come from the Department of Education.

On the other side, there's the powerful United Federation of Teachers. Union President Randi Weingarten declared that by proposing so many layoffs in education, the mayor was using her members as "pawns" in a political feud with Albany. She said she hadn't seen such a drastic proposal since the layoffs of the 1970s, and she described the chaos the city went through then as a warning.

So what's going on? If there's new federal money on the way, why is Bloomberg proposing layoffs?

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Bloomberg on Wall Street's Bonuses

Friday, January 30, 2009

President Obama may be swift to condemn excessive greed on Wall Street, but don't expect a similar tone from Mayor Bloomberg. The mayor who made his fortune on Wall Street was asked after his austere budget briefing by a reporter about the issue of excessive bonuses and compensation. "You have ...

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Hearing on Mayoral Control Spans 7 Hours

Friday, January 30, 2009

A public hearing on whether city schools should continue to be run by the mayor lasted almost eight hours in Queens yesterday. It was the first of five being held by the state assembly's Education Committee.

REPORTER: Queens Democrat Catherine Nolan, who chairs the committee says ...

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Chancellor Hopes Feds Can Save NYC Schools

Friday, January 30, 2009

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein says he's optimistic the federal stimulus will be able to avert any layoffs in the public schools.

But he says it'll only be possible if Albany helps out as well, by giving the city more flexibility over how it spends state school ...

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Liyana

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Political oppression, violence, hyper-inflation, plus a recent cholera epidemic have devastated the southern African nation of Zimbabwe. But it's an even more unforgiving place for people with disabilities – who are often shunned for cultural reasons. A band of disabled musicians from Zimbabwe is now touring the United States. WNYC's ...

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Liyana's Music from Zimbabwe

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This is Liyana performing their song "Never Give Up" at Teachers College-Columbia University on January 27th. The band's eight members all have physical disabilities. One is hearing impaired and four rely on wheelchairs.

People with disabilities are often shunned in Zimbabwe. Singer Marvelous Mbulo says some people believe they are under the influence of witchcraft. Mbulo has muscular dystrophy. He's 23 years old and sings backup. Lead singer Prudence Mabhena, who's 21, says her parents wanted nothing to do with her when she was born with arthrogryphosis, which withers the joints. She was raised by a grandmother and says doctors removed three of her limbs to ease her discomfort. Her remaining left arm is twisted, but she is able to manage her motorized wheelchair. Mabhena started singing when she was four years old with her grandmother. Her musical idol is the late South African singer and civil rights activist Miriam Makeba, and her voice is often compared to Makeba's. Mabhena also loves the American pop stars Alicia Keyes and Beyonce.

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Disabled Musicians from Zimbabwe Tour the US

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Political oppression, violence, hyper-inflation, plus a recent cholera epidemic have devastated the southern African nation of Zimbabwe. But it’s an even more unforgiving place for people with disabilities – who are often shunned for cultural reasons. A band of disabled musicians from Zimbabwe is now ...

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Making School Meals Healthier

Monday, January 26, 2009

Governor Paterson’s plans to tax sugary soft drinks and outlaw trans fats are the latest in a series of anti-obesity measures. New York City banned trans fats in 2006, and encouraged bodegas to sell packs of carrots and apples. The city’s public schools have spent ...

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Economic Meltdown Hits Schools

Friday, January 23, 2009

The economy is leading many city parents to take a closer look at their local public schools. But parents aren’t the only ones trying to do more with less. Education funding is also facing major cutbacks. WNYC’s Beth Fertig visited the Upper West Side to ...

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Inauguration Day

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Brian Lehrer Show’s special coverage of the presidential inauguration includes:

From Washington, DC: WNYC’s Andrea Bernstein and Siddhartha Mitter; plus The TakeAway’s Femi Oke; and Todd Zwillich of Capitol News Connection;

From New York City: WNYC’s Beth Fertig, Bob Hennelly, Arun Venugopal, Terrance McKnight, and Allison ...

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Reactions from Washington, New York and Online

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

WNYC culture reporter Siddhartha Mitter and Evening Music host Terrance McKnight talk about the cultural significance of the inauguration live from the National Mall in Washington. Also: WNYC reporter Beth Fertig speaks to us live from the Police Athletic League Harlem Armory where the Democracy Prep Charter School is hosting ...

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Reactions from NYC and Paris

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We check in with WNYC's Beth Fertig and Bob Hennelly, as well as Sophie Pedder, Paris Bureau Chief for The Economist.

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All Eyes on Inauguration in Harlem

Monday, January 19, 2009

More than 5,000 people are expected to fill the Harlem Armory for an inauguration watch party tomorrow. Most of them will be students from local public and private schools. The party was organized by a Harlem charter school because there was so much interest and ...

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Harlem School Hosts Inaugural Watch

Sunday, January 18, 2009

More than 5,000 people are expected to fill the Harlem Armory for an inauguration watch party tomorrow. Most of them will be students from local public and private schools. The party was organized by a Harlem charter school because there was so much interest and ...

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New Diploma Considered for Special Ed Students

Thursday, January 15, 2009

For the first time in 25 years, New York State is considering a new type of diploma for special education students who aren't able to earn a regular one. WNYC's Beth Fertig has more.

REPORTER: Students with serious learning or physical disabilities are allowed to earn ...

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Costs Soar to Send Students with Disabilities to Private Schools

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

WNYC has learned that the cost of sending students with disabilities to private schools soared by more than 50 percent in the last school year - to almost $89 million. WNYC's Beth Fertig has more.

REPORTER: Parents of students with disabilities can seek reimbursements for private ...

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City and State Closer to Agreement on Child Care Providers

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New York State and New York City appear to be closer to a deal that would continue funding child care providers who work from their homes. The state had threatened to withhold about 40 million dollars a month because the city has refused since 2007 ...

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Non-profits Take Hit in Madoff Fallout

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bernard Madoff's alleged ponzi scheme is hitting New York non-profits that serve many causes - including criminal justice work. WNYC's Beth Fertig has more.

The charities all got grants from the JEHT Foundation, which is shutting down operations in January because its own funders lost their ...

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Special Ed Spending

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

WNYC has learned that New York City spent $89 million sending students with disabilities to private schools during the 2007-2008 school year. That's an increase of more than 50 percent over the previous year.

The education department's lead attorney, Michael Best, says the increase is largely ...

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