Virtual Policy Forum: Education
The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed what the familiar, day-to-day world of American schooling looks like. Are these changes temporary or long-lasting, and what can we expect the education system to look like after the crisis moment fades? With many parents in Michigan and nationwide now better able to watch their children’s educational experiences up close, how will the landscape of school choice change?
These big questions will guide the conversation with our guest experts at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's virtual policy forum on education. We will open with remarks from Mackinac Center President Joseph G. Lehman, followed by discussion with Ben DeGrow, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center, Dr. Michael McShane, director of national research at EdChoice, and Robert Pondiscio, senior fellow and vice president for external affairs at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. They will address how schools are adapting to the new reality of distance learning, and what policymakers can do to advance educational freedom and quality in light of unprecedented challenges.
Ben DeGrow is the Mackinac Center’s director of education policy. DeGrow joined the Center in 2015 after a long stint at Colorado’s Independence Institute, where he provided expert analysis on school choice, school finance, collective bargaining and education employment policies. He has authored numerous policy reports and articles for various publications, and has appeared regularly on radio and television and before legislative committees.
Joseph Lehman An engineer by training, Joe joined the Mackinac Center in 1995 and was named president in 2008. During his tenure Michigan has seen numerous free-market policy advances in education, labor and state fiscal affairs. Frequently published in national and state media, Lehman also has trained more than 600 public policy executives internationally on strategic leadership and communications. He and his wife are founders of Midland County Habitat for Humanity.
Dr. Michael McShane is the director of national research at EdChoice, a leading national organization committed to promoting ideas and policies that advance educational freedom. A former high school teacher with advanced degrees from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Arkansas, his academic research, policy analysis and commentary have been widely published on numerous topics related to education reform.
Robert Pondiscio is senior fellow and vice president for external affairs at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a national think tank that promotes educational excellence through research, analysis and commentary. A civics teacher and former journalist, his columns frequently appear in major publications. His 2019 book about New York City’s Success Academy charter school network, How the Other Half Learns, won critical acclaim.