[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.

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

Bureaucrats vs. Parents — Who Should Choose Where Children Are Educated?

The Unequal School Funding Myth

The latest in an ongoing video series. … more

Commentary: Charter Schools Face Discrimination in Michigan

The Debate About Online Charter Schools

Objections are easily refuted. … more

'We Found a Place Where Our Children's Safety Would Never Be An Issue'

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

Schools Should Fund Learning, Not Insurance Companies

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

School Choice Advocates Cheer Lift of Charter Public School Cap

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

Commentary: Research Shows Parental Choice Works

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

Michigan School Exporting Education to China

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

Time to Take School Choice in Michigan to the Next Level

Will Schools Keep Ignoring Teacher Effectiveness When Setting Pay?

Make student learning and teacher effectiveness count more than than mere longevity. … more

Politicians: Stop Blocking the Online Charter School Door!

Just one group benefits from state caps on online charter school enrollment. … more

Measuring Charter Public School Performance

Measuring charter school performance is fundamentally different than measuring conventional school performance. … more

Saline Schools’ ‘Last in, First out’ Victims

Union's interests trumps those of teachers, students and parents. … more

Revenues and Spending of Michigan's Urban, Suburban, Town and Rural School Districts

In the passionate debates over providing equal educational opportunity for all children, it’s frequently argued that large financial inequities create challenges for many public schools, particularly those in lower-income urban areas. This study compares the revenues and operating expenditures of Michigan’s urban, suburban, town and rural school districts. The study’s findings provide a new and unique perspective on Michigan’s school districts. … more

Beyond the Classroom

Michigan School Spending Hits All-Time High

Per-pupil public school spending set a new record in 2010. … more

Schools Use Creative Accounting to Exaggerate Fiscal Challenges

School Districts Ignoring Labor Market Signals

Schools need to apply law of supply and demand to teachers. … more

Should Education Money Only be for K-12?

The truth behind the School Aid Fund. … more

Average Teacher Salary in Michigan Rises Again

According to new data just released by the Michigan Department of Education for the 2009-2010 school year, the average teacher salary in Michigan has risen for the 13th consecutive year. This most recent data puts the figure at $63,024. … more

'Controlling' School Health Insurance Costs, Local Style

Four days after Gov. Rick Snyder recommended a 2011-2012 budget that would reduce state aid for schools by $300 per pupil from this year’s levels, the Petoskey school board proposed a plan to reduce the district’s teacher and support staff health insurance costs. Its timidity reveals why the public school establishment finds even the prospect of modest state funding reductions so traumatic. … more

It Shouldn’t Take a Hurricane to Revitalize Detroit Public Schools

Michigan Schools Still Well-Funded Under Governor's Plan

Even if Gov. Rick Snyder's proposed spending reductions on K-12 schools passes the Republcian Legislature, Michigan taxpayers will still supply schools with more money per pupil than taxpayers in 28 other states. … more

Virtual Learning in Michigan’s Schools

MichiganScience is a Mackinac Center quarterly magazine that helps meet the need for accurate and accessible information about the increasingly complex scientific issues confronting voters and lawmakers. The magazine reflects the idea that even the most technical scientific policy issues can be discussed with lively prose and compelling visuals. … more