Reading, Writing and Reform

Email a Friend

PS 108 principal Maria Di Stefano

Part 15: 3rd Graders Prepare for High Stakes Testing
April 15, 2004
Next week, New York City third graders will take the first of two exams that will determine whether they can move on to fourth grade in September. Previously, teachers were given more leeway in deciding who was promoted. But mayor Bloomberg's policy of ending so-called social promotion puts more emphasis on high-stakes testing.
» More

7th grade teacher Ilene Besabe teaching at IS 220 in Brooklyn

Part 14: What to do about the school system's "Middle Child"?
March 25, 2004
The controversy surrounding third grade social promotion has gotten a lot of attention lately. But last year about 37 percent of ninth graders weren't promoted to the next grade, largely because they weren't prepared for high school. With that in mind, the city is now looking at ways to restructure its middle schools so more students will be ready for high school.
» More

Parents and students in the Bronx attending an unusual kind of high school fair.

Part 13: The Demand for Small Schools
January 16, 2004
The Bloomberg Administration is now in the process of phasing out many of the city's large, failing high schools and replacing them with highly specialized smaller schools. But as WNYC's Beth Fertig reports, in our ongoing series Reading, Writing and Reform, the demand is already far outpacing the limited supply. Especially in the Bronx.
» More

Part 12: Social Promotion
January 15, 2004
Starting this fall, city third graders who don't score high enough on their math and reading tests will not be promoted to the next grade. Schools Chancellor Joel Klein announced the details of this plan to end social promotion earlier today. About 15 thousand third graders were promoted last year even though they failed their exams. As WNYC's Beth Fertig reports, the Chancellor's new policy is a major change.
» More

English teacher Christina Lopez working with her students

Part 11: No Child Left Behind?
December 9, 2003
Eighth graders throughout the city are preparing to take the New York State English exams in January. Testing is a critical piece of the federal No Child Left Behind law, which requires schools to reach yearly performance targets. The city’s public schools are under tremendous pressure because they’re also dealing with new reforms by Mayor Bloomberg. In our ongoing series “Reading, Writing and Reform,” WNYC’s Beth Fertig looks at one low-performing middle school in South Ozone Park.
» More


Pamela Price Haynes, 4th grade teacher at PS 161 in Harlem

Part 10: The Labor Contracts
November 21, 2003
City teachers and school employees got to air their views yesterday, in the last of a series of city council hearings about their work rules. Pamela Price Haynes of PS 161 in Harlem said teachers were being demonized.
» More



Teachers protest at City Hall.

Part 9: Interview With Joel Klein
October 30, 2003
Chancellor Joel Klein and Mayor Bloomberg announced they're planning to open 50 new charter schools over the next 5 years. Chancellor Klein sat down with WNYC's Beth Fertig earlier today and explained how the new charter schools will fit into his overall reform plan.
» More


Teachers protest at City Hall.

Part 8: The Backlash
October 22, 2003
It's a month and a half into the new school year and a backlash is brewing against Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein. Thousands of teachers rallied outside City Hall to protest the new school reforms and to demand more respect.
» More


2nd grade teacher Terrie Costello and literacy coach Craig Pinckney-Lowe at PS 196 in the Bronx.

Part 7: The Pressure to Read
October 9, 2003
In public schools throughout the city, there’s a new curriculum intended to boost reading scores. Just about 40 percent of elementary and middle school students are meeting state standards. As part of our ongoing series “Reading, Writing and Reform,” WNYC’s Beth Fertig visited a school in the South Bronx.
» More


Live Special
October 2, 7PM on AM820
Hosted by Brian Lehrer and Beth Fertig live call-ins and special guests including:

  • Carmen Farina Superintendent of Region 8 (North and West Brooklyn)
  • Joan Makris Supervisor of the Parent Support Office for Region 9 (Lower
    and East Manhattan and the South Bronx)
  • Leanne Shimabukuro Director of Community Engagement at the NYC Dept. of


    Principal William Moore at Middle School 202 in Ozone Park.

    Part 6: It's the Principal of the Thing
    October 2, 2003
    Mayor Bloomberg has promised to reform the city school system with the same zeal his predecessor devoted to the war on crime. With his private sector experience, Bloomberg - and his chancellor, Joel Klein – have tried to streamline the unwieldy system with a new management structure and core curriculum. WNYC’s Beth Fertig examines the changes through the eyes of one Junior High school principal in Queens.
    » More



    Math coach Marc Mardy at PS 298 in Brownsville

    Part 5: New Math
    September 26, 2003
    This year, most New York City students are learning from a new curriculum. In our ongoing series Reading, Writing and Reform, WNYC's Beth Fertig looks at the Math Curriculum by visiting PS 298 in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
    » More

    Odolph Wright at PS 5 in Bedford Stuyvesant is a parent coordinator who also sees himself as surrogate parent.

    Part 4: A Parent's Best Friend
    September 22, 2003
    by Beth Fertig
    This fall, each of the city’s 12-hundred schools has a new Parent Coordinator. These coordinators are seen as a potential catalyst in the chancellor’s reform of the school system. In our ongoing series, “Reading, Writing and Reform,” WNYC’s Beth Fertig has this profile of one parent coordinator in Bedford Stuyvesant.
    » More

    Part 3: First Day of School
    September 8, 2003
    by Beth Fertig
    New York City is home to the nation's largest school system. The start of school yesterday was even more of a challenge. Under the leadership of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the school system has launched a whole new curriculum. Bloomberg has also overhauled its management structure.
    » More

    Click for a larger image. Source: "Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide"

    Part 2: New Curriculum
    September 2, 2003
    by Beth Fertig
    Though classes won’t start until next week, New York City’s 80-thousand teachers are returning to work today. They’re learning the new curriculum for math and literacy – which will be used in all but a couple of hundred exempted schools. Creating a unified curriculum is key to the Bloomberg administration’s school reform plan. As part of our ongoing series “Reading, Writing and Reform,” WNYC’s Beth Fertig took a look at how the new curriculum will play out in the classroom.
    » More

    Laura Rodriguez, the Superintendent for Region 2 in the Bronx

    Part 1: Bureaucracy 101
    August 6, 2003
    by Beth Fertig
    September is still a month away, and with it the start of the new school year. But the biggest changes in 30 years to the city school system are already well underway. The 32 community school districts are now just tiny offices. Instead, the real business of running the school system is now handled by 10 new regional offices with less than half the total number of staffers. We'll be exploring the mayor's overhaul of education over these next few months in our series Reading, Writing and Reform. Today WNYC's Beth Fertig guides us through Bureaucracy 101.
    » More


    NYC Dept. of Education

    United Parents Association