Matthew J. Brouillette is the former Director of Education Policy for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, an independent, non-profit research and educational institute located in Midland, Michigan. His tenure there was from 1998-2002, until he became President of the Commonwealth Foundation in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Brouillette is the author of numerous articles, Op-Eds, and studies related to education reform in Michigan. He was Managing Editor of Michigan Education Report, the Mackinac Center's quarterly journal focused on K-12 education issues in Michigan. While at the Mackinac Center, Brouillette appeared in many of Michigan's major newspapers and on radio and television programs across the state.

Brouillette is a former middle- and high-school history teacher. He received his undergraduate degree from Cornell College and has earned two post-graduate degrees in education and history from Azusa Pacific University and the University of San Diego.

By Matthew J. Brouillette

Graduation rates an imperfect measure of school excellence

Worldwide Study Praises Private Education for the Poor

When people try to come up with the best way to deliver education to the poor, rarely do they think of private schools. Even more rarely do they consider that the profit motive might be a useful tool for accomplishing the task. In fact, many people believe that only government can provide low income children with adequate educational opportunities. A new study makes the opposite case. … more

Graduation Rates an Imperfect Measure of School Excellence

Policy-makers at all levels of government are enacting policies that require districts to measure student and school performance. But one popular method of measurement, graduation rates, may not accurately reflect either student proficiency or school excellence. The only sure way to know whether schools are providing a quality education is to introduce more choice and competition into the system, so that schools have incentives to improve. … more

An Alternative Proposal for Philadelphia

Although turning to the private sector for assistance is a good idea, the problems in Philadelphia go far beyond just exchanging the managers of the current system. The educational crisis in Philadelphia is the direct result of monopoly-that is, a lack of choice for parents, and a lack of competition among schools. Bringing in Edison would have done little to change the situation in Philadelphia, except that Edison would have become the monopolist. … more

The Case for School Choice

Nov. 5, 2001 testimony of Mackinac Center Director of Education Policy Matthew Brouillette before the Oklahoma House of Representatives's Revenue and Taxation Committee on the issue of increasing school choice in that state. … more

Setting a Higher Standard of Accountability in Public Education

Charter schools have accepted the challenge of serving two masters. As public schools of choice, they are accountable to both the government-through the state and their authorizers-and the market-through parents, students, and the community. … more

School Finance Reform Lessons from Michigan

On October 10, 2001, Mackinac Center education policy expert Matthew J. Brouillette testified before the Pennsylvania House of Representative's Select Committee on Public Education Funding. The committee was created for the purpose of making recommendations for a new system of funding for public education in the Keystone State. Brouillette was called upon by Pennsylvania Rep. Jeff Coleman to inform the committee about Michigan's experience with school finance reform (Proposal A of 1994) and the lessons Pennsylvania might learn from the Great Lakes State. … more

Michigan Education Report (2001-03)

School Funding: Lack of Money or Lack of Money Management?

Proposal A of 1994 dramatically altered the way Michigan public schools are funded, and now many districts are complaining about a lack of money to meet their budgetary needs. But school revenues are up from pre-Proposal A levels, raising the question, "Are there things that districts can do more efficiently in order to better use the resources they already have?" … more

System fails to educate students adequately

Certified Isn't Always Best

Vouchers or Tax Credits for Full School Choice?

Bush's education package threatens local control

WNEM5 Report: Schools and Privatization

In this video clip, Mackinac Center Director of Education Policy Matthew Brouillette explains for WNEM5 television viewers the benefits of outsourcing non-instructional school services. … more

Voters Petition State to Investigate Financial Practices of the Highland Park Board of Education

Citizens of the city of Highland Park have submitted petitions to the state superintendent of public instruction calling for a review of the financial practices of the district's school board members. … more

Michigan Education Report (2001-02)

What Constitutes a Failing School?

Parents Should Have More Options When Schools Commit Academic Fraud

Too many Michigan school districts are committing academic fraud by failing to deliver the quality education they promise. If parents could choose the schools their children attend, fraudulent schools would have to improve or lose customers. … more

The Case for Choice in Schooling:

After 40 years of struggle, school choice is now at the center of the debate over school reform in America, and it is of primary importance that the public understand the facts-and avoid the myths-surrounding this issue. This three-part primer is designed to educate and inform citizens about all aspects of school choice and equip them to participate in the debate as fully informed members of their communities. The report contains a historical overview of tax-funded schooling, demonstrates the failure of many popular reforms of the past and present, explains the various types of school choice, identifies the barriers to education reform, dispels myths surrounding school choice, and outlines strategic plans parents and other concerned citizens can follow to advance the cause of greater school choice. … more

Michigan Education Report (2001-01)

Another Path To School Choice

A promising option for those who want parents to be be able to choose their child's school, but who are not convinced to support vouchers. … more

Michigan Education Report (2000-04)

Michigan businesses and institutions of higher learning are paying an estimated $601 million per year due to the lack of basic reading, writing, and math skills among students and employees, according to a study released in September by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. … more

Increase teachers' pay the right way

Michigan Education Report (2000-03)

In May, more than 100 business leaders, philanthropists, and others gathered in Grand Rapids for the sixth annual Investors Summit meeting of Children First CEO America, the nation's largest provider of "opportunity scholarships"partial scholarships for children of low-income parents, financed by private-sector contributors. … more

Competition Spurs Public Schools to Improve, Report Finds

The Impact of Limited School Choice on Public School Districts

Case studies of how school districts in Michigan's largest county are responding to competition from charter schools and public "schools-of-choice" … more

Michigan Education Report (2000-02)

In January, Mid-Michigan Public School Academy in Lansing became the largest unionized charter school in the nation when teachers there voted to join the Michigan Education Association (MEA). … more

A Reform Idea for Detroit Schools: Charter Them!

Converting Detroit's public schools into charter schools would free parents, students, teachers, and principals from a paralyzing education bureaucracy and allow them to take responsibility for making their particular school work. … more

Contract Terms Crucial To Inkster-Edison Partnership Success

Michigan Education Report (2000-01)

The Michigan legislature in December acted on two pieces of legislation aimed at effectively de-unionizing Detroit school administrators and boosting the number of charter schools that state universities can authorize. … more

Michigan Education Report (1999-04)

School Choice Has Been Tried — And It Works!

Allowing parents greater freedom to choose the schools their children attend will lead to educational disaster, claim defenders of the status quo. But examples of school choice in modern-day and historical America show otherwise. … more

Michigan Education Report (1999-03)

School Choice in Michigan: A Primer for Freedom in Education

  School choice--the right, freedom, and ability of parents to choose for their children the safest and best schools--has moved front and center in the debate over how to improve education in Michigan. This three-part primer equips parents, educators, and policy makers with the facts they need to understand and advance market-based reforms that will help all Michigan schools perform at higher levels of quality and efficiency.
  The primer examines the history of government-funded and operated schooling, explains why nonmarket-oriented school reform efforts ultimately fail, and describes various school choice proposals including charter schools, inter-district choice, vouchers, tax credits, and universal tuition tax credits. Helpful appendices explain ways for grass-roots citizens to help advance school choice. … more

School Employee Unions Oppose School Choice to Protect Their Turf

A study of union membership rates among Michigan public, charter, and private, school teachers reveals that unions have powerful political and financial incentives to oppose school choice proposals. … more

The Impact of School Choice on School Employee Labor Unions

  As school choice heads for the 2000 ballot in Michigan, it is important for citizens to understand how proposals including K-12 vouchers and tuition tax credits will affect the school employee unions that exert such a powerful influence on the state’s public school system.
  This study examines union membership rates among Michigan’s public, charter, and private school teachers and found that while teachers in every public school district are represented by-and pay dues to-a union, only 5 out of 139 charter and 2 out of over one thousand private schools employ unionized workforces.
  The study concludes that school employee unions-including the Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Federation of Teachers-have powerful political and financial incentives to spend millions of dollars to prevent more parents from being able to choose non-unionized charter or private schools for their children. … more

Partnerships in School Construction

Over $2 billion worth of Michigan school construction is approved or underway today, but our kids need more. Partnering with the private sector may help school districts build and maintain schools for less. … more

Can Mayors Solve School Problems?

Michigan Education Report (1999-02)

School board members looking for alternative solutions to familiar school problems now have a resource for innovative ideas and approaches … more

Unused Capacity in Privately Funded Michigan Schools

Many Michigan education reformers are exploring proposals to use private schools to help fix public school problems, including student overcrowding and a lack of incentives for improving student performance. The proposals, whether they involve public-to-private student transfers or expanded parental choice among all schools, depend on private schools' willingness and ability to accommodate new students. This study, which surveyed 342 of Michigan's 1,058 private schools, confirms that private schools have the classroom capacity and desire to accept a significantly larger role in providing more of the state's children with quality education. 10 pages. … more

Can Mayors Solve School Problems?

A recent Detroit Free Press poll showed that 77 percent of Detroit parents support amending the constitution to allow for tax credits for tuition at nonpublic schools. Parents seem to be saying they would rather pick their children's school than pick the politicians who run the schools. … more

Must Teachers Be Certified to Be Qualified?

Second only to parental involvement, teacher quality dramatically affects student academic success. By relaxing certification requirements, Michigan can actually increase the quality and energy of teachers in the profession … more

Michigan Education Report (1999-01)

Could Charter Schools Mean Fewer Educational Choices?

Charter schools offer parents greater choices, but they shouldn't be the only available choice. Tuition tax credits would help offset the unfair competitive advantage that tax-funded charter schools enjoy over tuition-charging nongovernment schools. … more

Michigan Education Report (1998-01)

Class Size Reduction is Expensive

The latest silver bullet to cure what ails failing government schools would bankrupt the state treasury and swell the ranks of teacher unions, but do little to improve student performance. … more

Teachers and School Choice

Increased competition among schools would not only improve education for all children, it would reward dedicated teachers who excel in the classroom with good benefits and greater job satisfaction. … more

Contracts and Contracting: School Districts Endorse Outsourcing

Do Dollars Equal Scholars?

Eighty-three percent of all spending on public education goes toward employee salaries and benefits, but over half of Michigan school employees never set foot in a classroom. … more