About the Authors

Ryan S. Olson joined the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in June 2005 and is director of the Center’s education policy initiative, which aims to improve the quality of elementary and secondary schools in Michigan.

Olson’s education policy analyses have been featured in the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News and numerous other Michigan newspapers, as well as Detroit’s WJR 760 AM, Michigan Radio and National Public Radio. He also oversees the publication of Michigan Education Report, a quarterly education journal available to Michigan school teachers, administrators and policymakers, and Michigan Education Digest, a weekly electronic periodical that summarizes key education news stories.

Olson is receiving his doctorate in classical languages and literature from Oxford University in May 2007. He has earned a master’s degree from Oxford in Oriental studies and graduate degrees from Regent College in Vancouver and Durham University in the United Kingdom. He received his B.A. from North Park University and his elementary and secondary education from Michigan public schools.

Olson has a varied teaching background, having taught English composition at a private college in Michigan, tutored students in the humanities and classical Greek, and taught Roman history classes in his community.

He lives with his wife and daughter in Midland, Mich.

Michael D. LaFaive is director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative for the Mackinac Center. He is the author or coauthor of scores of articles, Op-Eds and studies on fiscal policy issues. These include a 155-page analysis in 2003 of the state budget entitled "Recommendations to Strengthen Civil Society and Balance Michigan’s State Budget" and a 121-page study of the Michigan Economic Growth Authority entitled "MEGA: A Retrospective Assessment." Since 1995, LaFaive has been senior managing editor of Michigan Privatization Report, a Mackinac Center periodical concerning state privatization issues.

As a consequence of his widely published research and writing, he appears frequently in major newspapers and on talk radio programs across Michigan.

LaFaive has undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics from Central Michigan University and has served as an adjunct faculty member at the Midland, Mich., campus of Northwood University, where he has taught American economic history and economics of public policy.