[Photo of Audrey Spalding]

Audrey Spalding

Director of Education Policy

Audrey Spalding is the director of education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. In this position, Spalding oversees the Center's education research and publications, including Michigan Education Digest and Michigan Education Report. She started at the Center in 2012 as an education policy analyst.

Before joining the Mackinac Center, Spalding worked as a policy analyst at the St. Louis-based Show-Me Institute, where she provided analytical research and legislative testimony on tax credits, land banking and education. Her public policy op-eds have been published in a variety of newspapers, including The Detroit News, The Detroit Free Press, the Battle Creek Enquirer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Business Journal and The Kansas City Star.

Prior to her time at Show-Me, Spalding was an education reporter for the Columbia Missourian, where she was a co-recipient of the 2008 Missouri Press Association's Community Service Award for her efforts to highlight school district expenditures. 

Spalding received her bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri, having majored in both journalism and economics. She is a native of Ann Arbor, Mich.

A New Turnaround Model: Michigan's Highland Park Goes Charter

This brief examines the series of events that led to the Highland Park school district being converted to a system of charter public schools in 2012. Used as a strategy to help the district eliminate its large fiscal debt while still providing resident students with a local public school option, Highland Park's charter conversion is one of the first of its kind in the state and even the nation.
During the first year of charter school operation, students demonstrated significant learning gains, with some grades posting academic growth far above the average Michigan student. … more

Michigan’s Baby Bust Will Hurt Taxpayers if Schools Don’t Cut Back

Commentary: Education: U.S. Spends More, Gets Less

American students near bottom on international test. … more

Michigan Land Bank Demolishes Eminem's Childhood Home

More than 100 bids, yet house burned down. … more

Michigan Needs to Choose School Choice

Michigan Needs to Choose School Choice

Michigan's Top-to-Bottom Ranking: A Measure of School Quality or Student Poverty?

This study examines the state’s “Top-to-Bottom” ranking, which has been repeatedly criticized by educators for appearing to be correlated with school poverty rates. Mackinac Center research finds that schools that serve more lower-income students tend to receive lower scores on the TTB list.
These results matters because TTB rankings are used to impose consequences on low-ranking schools. This study suggests that Michigan should look at how other states rank schools in an attempt to reduce the likelihood of penalizing schools that serve lower-income students. It also makes the case that a choice-based accountability system is preferred, as it would allow students to escape schools that are not serving their needs and reduce the risk of penalizing undeservedly low-ranked schools. … more