Opinion » Bill Cope

Meridian Secondary

A great place to raise menial labor

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Notice: To all respectable universities, colleges and military academies, as well as any prospective employers from either the private or public sector: be forewarned! It would be in the overall best interest of your institutions for you to avoid any association with future graduates of the Meridian school system. Those produced by that system prior to the school year 2011-2012 are probably acceptable--or, let us say, as acceptable as the alumni of any other Idaho school--but as to individuals exiting in or beyond the spring of 2012, it would be prudent to pass them by in matters of enrollment, recruitment or employment. This is not to say that remarkable students could never emerge from the inferior position that Meridian schools has been forced to assume in relationship to other Idaho school systems. Yet depth of background and preparation count for much, do they not? So when considering prospects for acceptance into your circles of influence, why take a chance on a Meridian kid?

Gad, it hurts to have to say that. But it's the responsible thing to do, don't you agree, to let shoppers know when there's a bum product on the shelf? And what else will Meridian students be from here on out if not defective goods?

No doubt that sounds harsh, especially to the loving parents of all those little boys and girls, tweens and teens, who will be squeezing into Meridian schools in a couple of months. I can imagine their outrage: "You can't call my kid a defective good and get away with it, buster! And what're you doing warning people not to hire my baby or let her go to their colleges? My kid's not inferior to anyone else's, by damn!"

Certainly not! No argument! I'm sure your kid is a fine specimen. But I'm not saying he/she is inferior, am I? What I'm saying, if you listen carefully, is that if he/she is unfortunate to be attending Meridian schools from here on out, then his/her education will be inferior to other kids' educations. No way around it. It's just a fact.

And please believe me when I say how badly I feel for having to publish such an obvious truth. After all, I, myself, am a product of the Meridian school system. My siblings are all Meridian grads, as was my mom. My daughter came out of these schools just three years ago, back when we Meridian folks had nothing to be ashamed of. But see, we all got out before the district had to accommodate the demands of less than 10,000 of the cheapest, most short-sighted, most selfish and ignorant jackasses in Ada County.

That's correct, Mom and Dad. It is not I who decided your children would have to make do with a second-rate education, nor is it the fault of the school district. I voted for the levy, and the district was simply trying to maintain itself at its current levels. It was the 9,369 yahoos who voted against the levy that you should hold responsible. They decided that the $83 per year (for each $100,000 of home value) was more important to them than a properly educated United States. So don't blame me for pointing out your offspring will be less prepared for the world beyond senior prom than ... say ... Boise grads. Don't blame me because your kids will be setting off on the marathon of life by tripping over the shoe laces that 9,369 of your neighbors refused to help them tie.

Oh, you think I overstate?

OK, then, let us add up the damage and see. Forget that one of the manipulations originally planned to cut the necessary millions from the budget was to convert kindergartens into full-day slogs. This proposal brought out the most intense protest and it appears it will be abandoned. At least, until next year's budget cuts.

Forget also the 62 vacuums left behind by the 62 teachers who will lose their jobs this summer. What is that ... about three elementary schools worth of personnel? (Of course, this figure does not count the untold number of educators who will never consider applying for work in the Meridian district, as the local voters have shown so decisively just how little regard they have for education.)

And forget the added fees parents will have to pay if their kids want to participate in sports, bands, choir, drama--in other words, anything and everything that might make school palatable to thousands of students. And now that kids from financially stressed families will be shut out from participating in those activities where all the fun is had and all the friends are made, forget that the dropout rate is likely to rocket high into the failure-o-sphere.

But again, forget all that, and let us concentrate on the 14 days that have been dropped from the school calendar. That's right, Meridian students will now have 176 days of school while others ... say, in Boise ... will have 190. And that's only one year's worth of missed opportunities. Add up K through 12, and we find there will be 182 days of learning denied every Meridian student in their history of schooling. A full year of education some kids will get (say ... in Boise) that Meridian kids won't. Think of that, proud Mom and Dad, as you watch your beaming graduate receive his/her diploma. He/she is already a year behind.

But take comfort, for there is a bright side. Consider, for example, how our friends in Boise will always have a steady supply of grunts to file their fingernails, mow their lawns, deliver their pizzas and pump out their septic tanks.