School Transparency Laws Finally Catching Up With Mackinac Center Analysts' Research

Teacher salaries and school district spending transparency are the focus of two Detroit News articles today that rely on the expertise of Mackinac Center analysts.

“We’re at the crossroads of trying to maintain a government and school system that we’ve grown accustomed to as a relatively rich state,” Education Policy Director Mike Van Beek told The News. “And now we’re a relatively poor state.”

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Van Beek has been writing in-depth exposes of teacher contracts from districts across Michigan and has written about several school funding myths.

A new law that requires public school districts to post more spending information online enables what Fiscal Policy Director Michael LaFaive calls “Comparative analysis.”

The posting requirements include teacher contracts, a breakdown ofexpenditures, costs for health insurance and a list of employees making more than $100,000 annually, all of which Mackinac Center analysts have been tracking for years.

“Knowledge is power,” LaFaive said. “That’s why we’ve advocated transparency for so long.”