Last winter, I met with Bryant to discuss a short documentary film idea I was developing with Fox News analyst Juan Williams. We wanted to look at the plight of students and parents trapped in the Muskegon Heights system. We wanted to shine a light on the district’s predicament, to raise awareness, but also treat it as a call to action.
Bryant bristled and claimed we were “picking on” Muskegon Heights students. He wanted no part of it. On the one hand, I understand that human beings naturally shy away from high-profile scrutiny. On the other hand, Muskegon Heights moved beyond emergency status years ago. This dire situation calls for everything – including the kitchen sink – to be thrown at it.
In case you’re wondering, Juan and I ended up focusing our project on Chicago, where Mayor Rahm Emanuel willingly discussed his city’s educational challenges on camera. Needless to say, Chicago’s public school system is a mess, but at least the teachers in that district can count on a paycheck for the rest of the academic year. That’s apparently not the case in Muskegon Heights.
In all likelihood, the situation is irreversible without a significant infusion of cash from the state. But should state taxpayers be forced to bail out a system rife with incompetence and limited hope for the future? District officials recently announced that the starting annual salary for first-year teachers could be as low as $21,000 per year. Who on earth is going to take a job in that district for a salary that would probably make them eligible for food assistance?
We must have a radical rethinking of the education offered to Muskegon Heights students. From this point forward, we must have “all hands on deck” to assist the students, parents and taxpayers of Muskegon Heights. They have been let down by their elected school board and disgraced and victimized by Dana Bryant.
For the good of the community, Bryant should surrender the pension he didn’t earn and clearly doesn’t deserve.
Kyle is founder of Education Action Group and EAGnews.org, a news service dedicated to education reform and school spending research, reporting, analysis and commentary.
He is co-author of Glenn Beck’s “Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core and Public Education,” available at Amazon.com.
Kyle is a contributor to Townhall.com.
He has made appearances on the Fox News Channel, The Blaze, Fox Business Network, NPR and MSNBC. Kyle has given scores of interviews on talk radio programs coast to coast.
Kyle likes talking about his family, as well as his favorite music. Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler, Neil Young and Johnny Cash are at the top of the list. He has attended 25 Bob Dylan shows.
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