Wrong medicine?:The editorial cartoon in the Thursday TU takes up the issue of the failing Albany city schools. It depicts a hospital patient on a sick bed with several leaches on his/her body. The patient is labeled "Albany school district" and the leeches are labeled "charter schools." The doctor is labeled "SUNY charter school committee" and says to the nurse, "Nurse - the patient is starting to turn blue...get me more leeches."
There are at least two problems with this cartoon:
1) Most importantly, it implies that the charter schools are the root source of the problem with the Albany school district -as if the illness the patient came to the hospital with had an easy enough fix, but the doctor was simply applying a treatment that would end up killing the patient instead.. This is nonsense. While the jury is out on whether or not the charter schools are hurting the public schools, it is clear that the public schools weren't exactly up to par prior to the arrival of the charter schools and weren't going to be turned around with a quick dose of aspirin. Starting to turn blue? How about "arrived at the hospital DOA."
2) It implies that the charter schools are killing the public schools without giving the citizens anything positive. Wouldn't a better analogy be the internet replacing the newspaper? Sure, the internet is killing newspaper sales, but it's not like it isn't providing an equal or better quality product of its own. Same with charter schools.
The one thing that the cartoon does get right is that the patient is sick. How about a cartoon with the same patient labeled "albany school district," an IV hooked up to them labeled "money," and a doctor labeled "liberal solutions/unions/democrats." The doctor could say something like, "I just can't understand why the patient isn't getting better - we've been giving him the best medicine we can think of for better than 30 years."
I'm in favor of anything that improves education in the city. If that means trying some new things - like charter schools - then i'm all for it, regardless of what the entrenched interests say. As the old political saying goes, "in the realm of public policy, something beats nothing." If the alternative is simply trying to throw more money at the problem, forget it.