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.
Beth Fertig appears in the following:
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
New York is among the winners of the much sought after Race to the Top federal education grants.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Fifteen year-old Gabriela Molina’s 45-minute commute to summer school begins on the L train in Brooklyn. One subway connection later she’s now on a ferry to Governor’s Island. "When they first tell you that you have to take a lot of transportation you say 'it’s difficult.' But once you take it, it’s okay," she says, as a ferry pulls away from the Manhattan dock, blasting its deep horn.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
After years of steady improvement, it now appears that test scores have fallen in New York State. The percentage of elementary and middle school students passing the annual math and reading tests has dropped by double digits. Just 53 percent of students met the standards on their English Language Arts exams in grades 3 through 8. That's a 24 percentage point drop since last year. The percentage of students passing the math tests fell by about the same, with just 61 percent now on grade level.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
New York State is among 19 finalists for the second round of federal Race to the Top education grants. The others include Washington, D.C., New Jersey, California and Maryland. Connecticut wasn’t selected.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
New York City principals are getting a jump start on the new national standards for math and literacy supported by the Obama administration. Training sessions are taking place this summer even though the changes won't be rolled out until 2012.
Monday, July 26, 2010
United States Senators from New York and New Jersey are pressing for British and Scottish officials to testify before the Foreign Relations Committee, following more questions about the release of the Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi.
Friday, July 23, 2010
It’s no secret that cities are often hotter than their surrounding regions. For one thing, they’re crowded with warm bodies. And they contain lots of machinery to power our lights and keep our cars and transit systems moving.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Swimming classes start this week at New York City public pools. The city Department of Parks & Recreation’s free "Learn to Swim" classes are open to children and adults at 35 of the city's 54 pools. The first round of classes begins Wednesday after Tuesday’s registration period.
Friday, July 02, 2010
The city has lost its appeal of a court ruling that prevented it from closing 19 failing schools.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
It’s officially summer.
Monday, June 21, 2010
A proposal to eliminate New York State's annual exams in social studies for elementary and middle school students will be considered Monday by a Board of Regents committee.
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Where did the money go?
Thursday, April 22, 2010
The agencies that authorize charter schools in New York State defended their oversight of the publicly financed schools today at a hearing before a state Senate committee in Manhattan.
Monday, March 29, 2010
New York State lost the competition for education funds known as Race to the Top.
Monday, February 15, 2010
In the month since the Haitian earthquake the city's public schools have taken in 219 students from Haiti.
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
New York City and New Jersey public schools will be closed today, Wednesday, in anticipation of a big winter storm that promises to dump 12 inches of snow on the area.
Monday, February 01, 2010
The NAACP and the teachers union have filed a lawsuit claiming the city violated state laws with last week's vote to close 19 low-performing schools.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Despite Mayor Michael Bloomberg's prediction of "great progress," New York City students pretty much followed the pattern of other states and cities on this year's national math exams.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the city has found a loophole to a state law enabling it to use student test scores to evaluate teachers.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
In the first story of a new series, WNYC’s Beth Fertig visits a remedial class at LaGuardia Community College in Queens to see why math is such an obstacle.