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.
By Michael Van Beek
As much as anything, polls like this measure respondents' knowledge of the particular issue. Studies show that when respondents know the facts, their opinions on public education issues change significantly.
If told that total school revenue increased by 33 percent in the last 15 years even after adjusting for inflation — the 2008 Michigan school district average was $13,000 per student — would 60 percent still think schools need more money? Would people still think teachers need higher pay if informed that average teacher salaries in Michigan are among the nation's highest? … more