Issues & Ideas Forum, May 18, 2011

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Lawmakers, legislative staff, news media and other interested friends are cordially invited to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s


“School Funding in Michigan: Common Myths” featuring:

Michael Van Beek, Mackinac Center Education Policy Director


Mike Reno, Former School Board Member, Rochester Community Schools

DATE: Wednesday, May 18, 2011
TIME: Noon - 1 p.m.
LOCATION: Michigan Restaurant Association,
225 W. Washtenaw, Lansing, MI 48933
COST: Lunch is provided at no charge with reservation.

Michigan’s state-run school system is the largest and most expensive government service state taxpayers support – spending more than $20 billion a year. It employs more than 350,000 people, who work in one of the more than 4,100 different entities. Given the enormity and complexity of the system, it’s no surprise that myths abound about how public schools are funded.

It is important to understand both the basis and the truth behind these myths, especially in an economically depressed era. When times were good in Michigan, mismanaged and misused funds could be whitewashed with new resources. In today’s environment, however, school finances warrant greater scrutiny, which is why accurate school funding information is so important.

Michael Van Beek is director of education policy at the Mackinac Center and author of “School Funding in Michigan: Common Myths.” Van Beek oversees the Center’s education research and publications, including Michigan Education Digest and Michigan Education Report. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, the Lansing State Journal and many other Michigan newspapers.

Mike Reno served on the Rochester Community Schools Board of Education from 2004 to 2009. He has written extensively on the desperate need for reform in the financial, operational and educational aspects of Michigan’s Public Education system. He is a frequent contributor to Michigan newspapers and blogs, and has been covered nationally in The Washington Post. Mr. Reno is one of the featured authorities in the recently released documentary “Kids Aren’t Cars” from the Education Action Group.

The luncheon begins at noon. To make reservations, please call the Mackinac Center at 989-631-0900.


The Purpose of the Issues & Ideas Forum

The nature of the legislative process is such that public policy debates are often framed by specific constituencies and political pragmatism rather than by sound principles. By offering a forum for wide-ranging discussion, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy hopes to broaden the debate to include theoretical and philosophical ideals — and how to achieve them. The best interests of Michigan residents can be served only when legislation incorporates our best understanding of legal, economic, psychological, moral and scientific principles.


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