Education Forum

School officials, foundation personnel, news media, lawmakers, legislative staff and other interested friends are cordially invited to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's

October 7 Education Forum

"A Merit-Pay Pilot Program for Michigan Public Schools"

Sponsored by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy with generous support from the Broad Foundation.

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Tom Watkins
Former Michigan state superintendent of public instruction

Patrick Wright
Senior legal analyst at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Matthew Carr
Education policy director at the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions


Tuesday, October 7, 2008


2:00 - 3:30 p.m.


Laurel Manor Banquet & Conference Center
39000 Schoolcraft Road
Livonia, MI 48150



This forum is based on a key insight: It is time to change the way we pay teachers. Studies show that our current method of compensating teachers rewards actions that generally do not lead to higher student achievement. In contrast, a well-designed merit-pay program can encourage quality instruction, retain good teachers and - most importantly - improve student performance.

Yet few Michigan school districts are experimenting with merit pay. Changing local union contracts or creating a state-funded bonus program is likely to founder on political obstacles.

Such obstacles could be circumvented by a private foundation willing to finance a pilot merit-pay program with one or more cooperating school districts. The forum will explore such an arrangement and act as a catalyst for change. To learn more about the general proposal, see the Mackinac Center Policy Brief "A Merit-Pay Pilot Program for Michigan Public Schools" at

The discussion leaders bring important perspectives to this issue. Tom Watkins recently served as superintendent of public instruction for the state of Michigan, and he is currently president and chief executive officer of TDW and Associates, a global education and business consulting firm. Patrick Wright is senior legal analyst at the Mackinac Center and co-author of the Center's merit-pay pilot program Policy Brief. Matthew Carr is the education policy director at the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, and he is working on a Ph.D. in public policy at the University of Arkansas.

To make reservations for yourself and your guests, please contact Sharon Millerwise of the Mackinac Center at 989-631-0900 or by Oct. 2, 2008.


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