Mackinac Center Receives Two-Year, $1 Million Research Grant from The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation

Research aimed to help schools become more ‘responsive, measurable and efficient’

For Immediate Release
Dec. 3, 2014
Ted O'Neil
Media Relations Manager

MIDLAND — The Mackinac Center for Public Policy announced today that it will receive a $1 million grant over two years from The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation to fund education policy research. The grant was approved at the foundation’s recent board of trustees meeting.

“We are grateful to the trustees of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation for supporting research to help public schools become more responsive, measurable and efficient,” said Mackinac Center President Joseph G. Lehman.

Previous Dow Foundation support led to the creation of the Center’s elementary/middle school and high school context and performance report cards, which measure school performance while taking students’ socioeconomic backgrounds into account.

The elementary/middle school report card found that Thirkell Elementary School, part of Detroit Public Schools, was the top performer in the state in 2013. Although 90 percent of Thirkell’s students come from low-income backgrounds, students there regularly post higher than average scores on state MEAP tests.

“A huge thank you to the Mackinac Center for citing us as the number one prek-8 school in the state of Michigan,” Thirkell Principal Clara Smith said at the time of the announcement.

Numerous media outlets across the state cite the Center’s report card findings in articles about school performance in their locales. In order to assist the public’s awareness of educational outcomes, the Center also maintains several unique online databases with district-level funding and spending information, superintendent compensation and collective bargaining agreements

“The Mackinac Center’s education research has shed light on a number of important issues over the past 25 years, and their objective, data-driven focus will continue to find new and better ways to improve Michigan’s schools and our students’ futures,” said Macauley Whiting Jr., president of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.

The new grant will fund such efforts as a study of patterns in school spending to help identify best practices; research into alternative ways to fund public education and assess school performance; and analysis of how public education can be responsive to workforce demands.

“We’ve been able to make a lot of progress on several of these items in the past through the Dow Foundation’s support, and we look forward to increasing our research efforts and the way we communicate our findings,” Lehman said.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, research and educational institute dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Michigan residents by promoting sound solutions to state and local policy questions.


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