Flex Learning: A Customized Approach for Michigan Students
Mackinac Center Policy Forum – Virtual Event
Recent experiences with pandemic restrictions and remote learning have underscored the need for greater flexibility in the state’s K-12 education system. The Mackinac Center is promoting an idea called Flex Learning, which would give students across Michigan more educational options and opportunities. Families could craft combinations of virtual and in-person learning programs, including dual-enrollment courses and career apprenticeships.
To learn more about this timely and important issue, this event will feature Ben DeGrow, the Mackinac Center’s director of education policy; Phil Janis, principal of the Morey FlexTech High School in Shepherd, Mich.; and Cara Candal and Zach Eckert, both experts from ExcelinEd, a leading national education reform organization. The Mackinac Center’s Mike Van Beek will moderate the discussion. Joseph Lehman, president of the Mackinac Center, will provide opening remarks.
This event will take place on Tuesday, February 2, at 11:00 a.m. EST. To RSVP and receive access to the forum, please register below.
Cara Candal is the Director of Educational Opportunity for ExcelinEd focusing on private school choice. Cara has spent the last 10 years working in education policy as a Senior Fellow with both Pioneer Institute and the Center for Education Reform. She was also a founding team member of the National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education (NAATE) and a research assistant professor at Boston University in the Department of Educational Leadership and Development. Cara has authored and/or edited more than 25 papers and three books on education policy. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Indiana University, a Master of Arts in Social Science from the University of Chicago and a Doctor of Education from Boston University. Cara grew up in Canton, Michigan and currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
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.
Zach Eckert is the Midwest Regional Advocacy Director for ExcelinEd. In this role, he works with leaders and policymakers from the midwestern states to promote student centered solutions focused on educational quality, innovation and opportunity. Zach’s portfolio of states includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Previously, Zach worked for the Indiana State Senate including time spent with the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee and Chairman of the Senate School Funding Subcommittee. Most recently, he served as a policy analyst for the Senate Majority Caucus focusing on education policy. Zach also has experience working on political campaigns. He has a political science degree Indiana University and graduated from Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law.
Phil Janis is the Principal of FlexTech High School in Shepherd, MI. Phil graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing with an IT Specialization as well as a Bachelor’s in Social Studies Education. Phil then received a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University. He has an educational background as a high school Social Studies teacher, and a passion to make school relevant to all students. Phil enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters, doing anything outside, and watching football.
An engineer by training, Joseph G. Lehman 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.