[Photo of Michael Van Beek]

Michael Van Beek

Director of Research

Michael Van Beek is director of research for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He joined the Mackinac Center in June 2009 as director of education policy. He has authored several studies for the Center as well as analysis and commentaries that have been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, The Grand Rapids Press, The Oakland Press and elsewhere.

For four years prior to working at the Center, Van Beek taught political philosophy, government, economics and history at North Hills Classical Academy, a private primary and secondary school in Grand Rapids. He also served one year as a North Hills assistant administrator.

Van Beek obtained his Master of Arts in American history from Purdue University and his Bachelor of Arts in history from Hope College.

He lives in Midland, Mich., with his wife, three children, a dog and an assortment of semi-domesticated creatures, including a coyote named Gandalf, a fox named Felix and the Harrisons, a family of red-tail hawks.

Center Adds Two New Scholars to Board

One from Hillsdale, one from MSU. … more

New Evidence: Right-to-Work Laws Work

Center scholar co-authors CEI study. … more

Michigan Future Report Doesn't Add Up

Academic research favors low-tax states. … more

MEA Embraces More Outsourcing

But still protests when schools do it. … more

Center Adds New Scholar to Team

Jason Taylor, CMU professor and economist. … more

Electricity Competition in Illinois

Consumers save $240 annually. … more

What Right-to-Work Means

A view from a union contract. … more

Analysis: Misleading Commercial on Electric Rates

Comparison to Texas invalid, dishonest. … more

Center Adds Three New Scholars to Board

Chris Douglas, Michael Hicks, Todd Nesbit. … more

Michigan Needs Electricity Competition

Monopoly led to 27 percent rate increase. … more

Legislature Considers Two Center Ideas

New bills on school grading, third-grade reading proficiency. … more

Common Core Clarification

"Promising but dangerous" is the right description. … more

Huffington Post Gets it Wrong ... Again

Story mischaracterizes study on Michigan charters. … more

Average Teacher Salaries Climb

MDE data at $62,631 for 2010-2011 school year. … more

No Link Between Charters, Segregation

New study disproves commonly held myth. … more

Two Charter Public Schools Being Closed

If only all schools faced the same accountability. … more

Politics Alive and Well in Public Schools

Brandon board won't sell vacant building to charter group. … more

Don't Trust Ed-Trust on Charter Schools

Group seeks ed reform, but misses mark on charters. … more

The Preschool Paradox

An extra year of kindergarten vs. Great Start. … more

Teacher Merit Pay in India

A model Michigan should consider. … more

Average Superintendent Compensation in Michigan

Searchable database now available online. … more

Tall Tales

DPS scores get a closer look. … more

National School Choice Week

More than 3,500 events scheduled nationwide. … more

Charter Schools Produce Huge ROI

One-quarter less spending, 45 percent more results. … more

Huffington Post Gets Charter School Study Wrong

Article ignores gains made by charter school students. … more

Ed. Establishment Downplays Charter Study

New Stanford study's methedology beyond reproach. … more

Charter School Market Working

Those run by for-profits benefit students most. … more

Michigan Charter Schools a Smashing Success

New Stanford study most thorough analysis yet. … more

Per-Pupil Spending About Even

Fears about Oxford proposal misplaced. … more

Right-to-Work: What Now for Schools?

Districts should resist union calls for contract extensions. … more

Schools Put Unions Ahead of Teachers on Right-to-Work

"Labor accord" more important than employee freedom. … more

A Quick Lesson on School Vouchers

Educators misleading on reform bills. … more

The V-Word

School funding reform is not about vouchers. … more

Super-Seniority

Are school union bosses more valuable than teachers? … more

'Non-Teaching' Staff Up 702 Percent Since 1950

More teachers, more staff, more cost; lower test scores. … more

New High School Performance Database

Online "report card" searchable, sortable. … more

What's in a Teachers Union Contract?

Lots of emphasis on the union, not much on students. … more

Merit Pay in Mattawan

For coaches, not teachers. … more

Complaints About 'Parent Trigger' Miss the Mark

All parents should have this powerful tool available to them. … more

Placing School Bureaucrats Before Children

Anti-charter school bill protectionist for consolidated districts. … more

News from Lake Wobegon:

All Michigan teachers are above average. … more

How Not to Measure Charter School Quality

Individual learning growth should be the main focus. … more

Inconvenient Truths on School Choice

School choice critics often ignore data. … more

Let Online Learning Flourish

State should keep up with technology. … more

Top 10 Charter High Schools

See how Michigan's top-performing high schools stack up. … more

Top 10 Conventional High Schools

See how Michigan's top-performing high schools stack up. … more

Top 10 Rural High Schools

See how Michigan's top-performing high schools stack up. … more

Back-to-School Shopping

Schools, not parents, responsible for providing supplies. … more

Top 10 Town High Schools

See how Michigan's top-performing high schools stack up. … more

Top 10 Suburban High Schools

See how Michigan's top-performing high schools stack up. … more

Top 10 City High Schools

See how Michigan's top-performing high schools stack up. … more

Milton Friedman and School Choice

The economist's legacy has been long and powerful. … more

School Performance Analyses Useful

But only if they are used in the proper way. … more

Michigan’s Teaching Population Aging

Seniority clauses in contracts the obvious reason. … more

'Master'-ing Compensation for Michigan Teachers

How much should teachers' master's degrees matter? … more

Merit-Based Teacher Pay Rewards Everyone

Blissfield Schools and St. Clair join reformers of teacher pay. … more

School Takeovers: Much Criticism, No Solutions

Districts with EMs require innovative, quick action. … more

School Funding at All-Time High

See which districts spend the most and least per pupil. … more

Schools Aren't a 'Jobs Program'

Fruitport school board sides with union over students. … more

Telling Tales Out of School

Schools work just fine without collective bargaining. … more

Union Uses Students as Pawns

Teamsters encourages kids to skip school. … more

Union's Scare Tactics Exposed

Myths about privatization fail to materialize. … more

Michigan Lags Nation on School Choice

Progress in Great Lake State, but more can be done. … more

Educrats Spin Conspiracy Theories

Charter public schools, parental choice threaten monopoly. … more

Where A Pay Freeze Is a Pay Raise

Teacher contracts use interesting math. … more

Charter Schools Average Smaller Class Sizes

Less top heavy than conventional schools, too. … more

The Source of Schools' Pension Problems

Misleading comments a disservice to taxpayers. … more

Two Bills, Two Standards

Helmet laws and "cyber" schools. … more

'Flipped Classrooms' Aid Student Learning

"Results speak for themselves" … more

How Cost Effective Are Michigan’s Universities?

What they spend per degree completed. … more

Why the 'Michigan2020' Plan is a Poor Investment

More subsidies for college won't increase graduation rates. … more

School Districts in Deficit are Top Heavy

Spend 43 percent more on administration than state average. … more

Remove Needless Mandates on Teachers

Additional training has shown no impact on student performance. … more

Public School Welcomes All

(Unless they're from Detroit.) … more

Digital Learning Day

How schools are using technology to improve education. … more

MEA's Hyperbole About Cyber Charter Schools

Teachers union math gets a failing grade. … more

Online Charter School Spending Trends

How do they compare to brick-and-mortar schools? … more

The Unequal School Funding Myth

The latest in an ongoing video series. … more

The Debate About Online Charter Schools

Objections are easily refuted. … more

National School Choice Week

Good for parents, student, teachers and taxpayers. … more

Opposition to Online Charters Misguided

Savings can benefit students and educators. … more

A Digital Learning Success Story

Suttons Bay Schools an innovation leader. … more

Connecticut School Leaders Propose Bold Reforms

Michigan counterparts should take notice. … more

Arbitrary Cap on Charter Schools Lifted

Mackinac Center introduced concept in 1988. … more

Cherry-Picking Charter School Research

Broader look at data needed. … more

Charters Increase Special-Ed Enrollment

Decrease in special-ed enrollment for conventional schools. … more

The Difference With Charter Schools

Parents, not politicians, should make the choice. … more

Free Press Misleads on Charter Schools

Editorial claims parental choice is "dangerous." … more

Brookings Institution: Expand School Choice

Michigan should pay attention to study's findings. … more

It's for the Children

Does the MEA only care about certain students? … more

Digital Learning Growth in Michigan

Legislators should pay attention to increased enrollment. … more

Nation's Report Card

Bad news for Michigan. … more

Michigan's 'Very Best' Schools Only 'Above Average'

Global report card paints stark picture. … more

Jalen Rose: An Education Entrepreneur

Former basketball star opens charter public school. … more

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Spend $25 Billion to Fix It

Virtual learning should mean less money, not more, spent on schools buildings. … more

Professionalizing the Teaching Profession

Right-to-work law for teachers on the horizon. … more

A Smaller Cadillac Is Still a Cadillac

New government employee insurance cap is still 46 percent higher than private-sector average. … more

More Schools Save by Ditching Unionized Insurance, Busing, Food and Janitors

Money saved can be devoted to educating students. … more

August in Michigan Is Teacher Freedom Month

How teachers can resign from their union. … more

No Cutting and Complaining Here: Oxford Schools Bucks the Trend

One school district in Michigan is expanding learning opportunities for kids through online learning. … more