[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.

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

Time to Rethink ISDs

How Not to Measure Charter School Quality

Individual learning growth should be the main focus. … more

Sorry Kids — Say Goodbye to Count Day Goodies

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

Emergency Managers Fill the Role of Modern-Day Cincinnatus

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

Oxford Community Schools: The Great Recession — and the 'Greatest Gift'

In this first installment of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's new "Schools of Innovation" series, we begin with Oxford Community Schools' experiment with virtual learning. This study examines the district's adoption of Web-based learning to deliver and enhance student instruction. The effectiveness of virtual learning and the resulting increase in district enrollment have fueled the expansion of other school programs — a marked contrast to the many Michigan school districts that have struggled to maintain their offerings during the state's economic slump. … more

Making the Whole Class Flip: The Online Learning Revolution

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

Reform Needed to Curb Rising School District Debt Levels

Two Bills, Two Standards

Helmet laws and "cyber" schools. … more

'Flipped Classrooms' Aid Student Learning

"Results speak for themselves" … more

Tuition Subsidies Offer Too Few Benefits

Michigan Should Reform School Lending System

How Cost Effective Are Michigan’s Universities?

What they spend per degree completed. … more

Bloated Teacher Contracts Much To Blame For Issues In Highland Park, Muskegon

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