[Photo of Ben DeGrow]

Ben DeGrow

Director of Education Policy

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 authored numerous policy reports and opinion-editorials for various newspapers and other publications, and regularly appeared on radio and television and before legislative committees.

DeGrow graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in history from Hillsdale College, and went on to receive a master’s degree in history from Pennsylvania State University. Ben’s experiences in the classroom include service as a university graduate assistant and as a substitute teacher in Michigan public schools. He also spent nearly a year on the editorial staff of the Hillsdale Daily News.

Originally from Oakland County, DeGrow is excited to be back in his home state after 13 years in Colorado. He brings with him his wife and three daughters, as well as his undying loyalty to the Detroit Tigers.

School Choice Breaks Down Racial Barriers

Some districts’ residency requirements reinforce segregation … more

Parents Deserve Clear Information About School Performance

Letter grades work for students, they can work for schools too … more

Change Careers to Teaching? Take the SAT

MEA Attack on Online Charters Misses Mark

Policy based on bad data, double standards would hurt families … more

Change Careers to Teaching? Take the SAT

New bureaucratic rule constricts educator pipeline … more

Don’t Push the School Funding Panic Button

DeVos: Fight for Students, Not Over Them

Secretary of Education makes powerful case for parental choice … more

Education Officials Avoid Obvious Solutions

Reforms needed before taking teacher shortage claims seriously … more

Don’t Push the School Funding Panic Button

Districts can adapt to federal enrollment projections … more

Listen to Michigan Parents Who Use School Choice

Charter Schools Face Funding, Facility Inequities

Legislation, possible legal showdown could help shrink gap … more

Most Michigan Parents Satisfied with School Choice

Superintendent Whiston backtracks from “backwards” claim … more

Michigan Parents Satisfied with Education Choice

New study looks at the factors driving increased school choice … more

A Survey of Michigan Parents Who Use School Choice

This report highlights the results of a survey conducted of Michigan parents who exercise some form of public school choice for their children. Among the diverse group of 837 parents from across the state who were interviewed, substantial majorities gave high marks to their chosen schools, said the experience boosted their expectations of their children’s future success and would likely recommend choice options to other parents. Respondents also said that information they receive from other parents influences their school choice decisions, in addition to published school performance data and in-person visits. Survey results further revealed that most parents highly value academics in making their decision, though safety and discipline are leading considerations as well. … more

A “Not Welcome” Sign for Special-Needs Students

Nonresidents denied local special education dollars in 21 ISDs … more

Let Local Schools Decide Their Calendars

More districts seeking freedom from Labor Day mandate … more

Measuring Success in Alternative Education

Programs serving dropout risks need meaningful metrics too … more

Help for School Choice May Come From Washington

‘Public Education’ Not Easy to Define

Questions raised by rally for more school funding … more

Mackinac Center Publishes New Report to Simplify Complexities of Education Funding

How School Funding Works in Michigan can serve as resource for all stakeholders … more

How School Funding Works in Michigan

Discussions about school funding can create more confusion than clarity. Each state has its own intricacies and peculiarities. Michigan is no exception. Funding flows down from different sources, often based on different formulas and intended for different purposes. There’s no one unified system that controls school funding — rather, schools rely on a number of systems layered on top of each to supply them with resources.
This publication presents a brief overview of some of the key components of Michigan’s school funding system, if it can be called that. The goal is to provide a general understanding of how tax dollars reach schools and what they are intended for.  … more

Special Needs Families Deserve Transparency

Posting ISD special education plans enables sound decisions … more

Teacher Shortage in Detroit Calls For New Policies

Free Press Omits Key CREDO Charter School Finding

Students learning more from most Michigan for-profit operators … more

Vitti’s ‘Student-First’ Agenda Faces Early Test

Pay limits for incoming teachers an unnecessary obstacle … more

Myths and Truths of Public School Funding

Detroit Can Fill Teacher Shortages

Credentials, compensation offer keys to solve problem … more

School Funding in Michigan Reaches All-Time High

Record revenues for schools likely will continue … more

Central Academy Excels on High School Report Card

Ann Arbor charter builds cultural awareness, character … more

Save Closures for Truly Failing Schools

Context needed for decisions, whether by state or local officials … more

Wake-Up Call Helps Rural School Bloom

Bloomingdale leaves state watch list … more

School Inc. Could Open Michigan Viewers’ Eyes

New documentary closely follows major Arizona choice law … more

Don't Force Charter Schools Into State Pension Plan

Governor’s Cyber School Cuts Don’t Add Up

Trust Parents with School Grading System

No good reason to complicate or hide information … more

A Case for Popular ISD Board Elections

Agencies spending more of state’s K-12 tax dollars … more

New Report Card Can Make School Closing Decisions Better

Wellspring Prep Growing Strong

Diverse Grand Rapids charter readies kids for college … more

Governor’s Cyber School Cuts Don’t Add Up

Online charters already perform OK for much less money … more

Baldwin High School Beats the Odds

Unique rural community bolstered by college focus, innovative initiatives … more

Compel School Districts to Reward Great Teachers

Wisconsin study highlights benefits of performance pay … more

Family Finds Online School to Be a Lifesaver

Education accountability system needs to be parent-friendly … more

Practical, Moral Arguments Bolster School Choice Advocates

A Better Way to Rank Schools

Saginaw’s Lowest Performing Schools Get the Most Money

More funding won’t fix failing schools … more

Putting the Pieces in Place for School Choice

Big picture points to more hopeful action … more

Mackinac Center Responds to State’s School Rankings

State report confirms need for new grading system … more

Detroit Charters Far Outperform Traditional Schools

Mackinac’s CAP scores align with rigorous research findings … more