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Healthcare Initiative

A Response to the New York Times About Charter Schools in Michigan

A Response to the New York Times About Charter Schools in Michigan

Education Policy Initiative

Educational opportunity for all Michigan children

Michigan Local Government Databases

Union contracts for all local school districts in Michigan, as well as district-by-district information on revenue and expenditures, are available online at the Michigan School Databases.

Press Room


Michigan School Databases

Union contracts for all local school districts in Michigan, as well as district-by-district information on revenue and expenditures, are available online at the Michigan School Databases.

Five Options for Addressing ‘Transition Costs’ When Closing the MPSERS Pension Plan

Michigan Public School Employee Retirement Plans
in Need of Reform

This study considers the supposed ‘transition costs’ that would be effected by a state switch from a defined-benefit to defined-contribution retirement system. In it, the “transition costs” are found to be nonbinding and discretionary. In addition, the study offers the state a series of reforms that would diffuse such costs, as well as consideration for the long-term fiscal improvements that would arise from payment of the pension’s unfunded liabilities.

Alcohol Control in Michigan

A Collection of the Mackinac Center's Resources on Liquor, Beer and Wine Regulations in Michigan

Loar v. Michigan Department of Human Services Brief

This booklet contains the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation’s final legal filing in a nationally known case involving the illegal unionization of Michigan’s home-based day care business owners and providers as government employees. Wright argued the case in the Michigan courts on behalf of Sherry Loar, Michelle Berry and Paulette Silverson, who each own home-based day care businesses.

The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation sued to end the DHS' illegal diversion of so-called "union dues" from state subsidy checks received by home-based day care providers who watch children from low-income families. The "dues" were funneled to a government-employee union that purports to represent more than 40,000 of Michigan's home-based day care providers, who are actually private business owners and independent contractors.

The case was ruled moot by the Michigan Supreme Court after the DHS ceased to collect the dues and the DHS director stated that these home-based day care providers are not public employees.

Right-to-Work Library

Frequently Asked Questions About Right-to-Work

101 Recommendations to Revitalize Michigan

For policymakers and voters serious about restoring freedom and economic vitality in the Great Lakes State, the Mackinac Center presents the following 101 recommendations.

Detailed Analysis of Utica's Teacher Contract

Nearly every aspect of a teacher's job falls under the rules of a union contract. The following are analyses of the current collective bargaining agreements for teachers and a few other employee groups in select Michigan school districts.

The summaries highlight and explain particular noteworthy items from each contract, and the detailed analyses break down each element of the districts' agreements.

An Introduction to the Overton Window of Political Possibility

Michigan is blessed with a wealth of the human and natural resources integral to building vibrant commerce and vigorous communities in the 21st century. At the moment, however, counter-productive public policies have made it harder for our industries to compete nationally and internationally and have reduced our state's attractiveness to investors and entrepreneurs.

In addition, Michigan is not immune to the gradual erosion of equity and basic human freedom that accompanies a steady growth in the power and scope of government.

Related to this, our government's ability to properly perform many critical functions, including education, has been jeopardized by policymakers' attempts to do too many things. This lack of focus has even led to confusion among policymakers over whether government exists to serve the people or vice versa.

There's a lot of work to do to reverse this, but there's good news. Once growth- and freedom-friendly policies are in place, recovery is likely to occur much more quickly than most people imagine.

For policymakers and voters serious about restoring freedom and economic vitality in the Great Lakes State, the Mackinac Center presents the following 101 recommendations.

This report is a compendium of work authored by Mackinac Center policy analysts and compiled by Senior Legislative Analyst Jack McHugh.

"101 Recommendations" Facebook Group

Michigan Privatization Report (MPR)

Michigan Privatization Report was a biannual publication beginning in 1994 and ending in 2009 of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, tax-exempt research and education organization devoted to analyzing Michigan public policy issues. It was distributed to state senators and representatives and policy staff; department directors and staff; municipal officials and administrators; school superintendents and school board members, as well as media. Total circulation was over 22,000.


MichiganScience helps meet the need for accurate and accessible information about the increasingly complex scientific issues confronting voters and lawmakers.

Bailout Resources

Right-to-Work FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About Right-to-Work

Free Market Moments

Audio Archives

Issues & Campaigns

The Mackinac Center's most pressing issues and campaigns.

Working in Detroit

Open Government Initiative

Encouraging good government by informing citizens.

Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative

Encouraging sound tax, spending and economic development policy.

Teacher Quality

Encouraging good government by informing citizens.

Michigan Education Report (MER):

View the Michigan Education Report (MER) at and/or subscribe for a paper copy.

Roscommon teachers leave Michigan Education Association

"Teachers at Roscommon Area Public Schools voted by a nearly 2-to-1 margin to leave the Michigan Education Association ..."

DPS teachers awarded bonuses

"Detroit Public Schools teachers will receive a bonus as part of a court settlement with Emergency Manager Roy Roberts ..."

Detroit high school students to try virtual learning

"Detroit-area students at high schools run by the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan will have the opportunity to take virtual courses ..."

Chicago strike sparks discussion about teacher evaluations

"The ongoing Chicago Teachers Union strike, in part due to controversy about how teachers are evaluated ..."

College stats in for Kalamazoo Promise’s first class

"Kalamazoo Promise officials have released the latest data showing how the Kalamazoo Public Schools’ class of 2006 is doing ..."

Sweeping collective bargaining proposal on November ballot

"The state Supreme Court has ruled that a sweeping ballot proposal to expand public employee bargaining power will be on the November ballot ..."

Teacher pension reform law signed

"Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a law reforming school employee pension costs ..."

Teacher pension reform law signed

"Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a law reforming school employee pension costs ..."

Highland Park student plaintiffs return to school

"Eight students who are suing the Highland Park School District for failing to teach them to read at an appropriate level are returning to school ..."

Number of Michigan charter public schools continues to grow

"This school year, 31 new public charter schools have opened in Michigan ..."

Some Flint students begin year without class assignments

"In the wake of merging middle and high schools, some Flint School District students were not provided class assignments ..."

School tax rates in Kalamazoo County go up without a vote

"School taxes are set to increase in Kalamazoo County, even though residents did not vote on the matter ..."

Oxford district’s AstroTurf could cost some their homes

"Oxford Public Schools has until Sept. 1 to come up with $300,000 to pay for its new football field turf ..."

Whitehall saves by switching to high-deductible health plan

"The Whitehall teachers union and the Whitehall school board have agreed upon a new contract ..."

Michigan districts start testing teacher evaluation methods

"Fourteen school districts are testing different teacher evaluation models for statewide consideration ..."

Audit alleges Genesee district administrator misspent funds

"The Genesee Intermediate School District has fired a top-level administrator, and a state education department employee has been placed on leave ..."

Most tax increases pass, increases for schools least popular

"About 90 percent of millages proposed statewide this summer passed ..."

Appeals court rules against deduction for teacher health costs

"A Michigan appeals court has ruled that a 3 percent deduction from school employees put in place to help pay for health care costs is illegal ..."

Blended learning school to open in Detroit this fall

"Cornerstone Charter Schools will open a new blended learning high school in Detroit this fall ..."

DPS shakeups continue, split power between board and manager

"Power struggles in Detroit Public Schools continue after a judge ruled that the DPS board has power over academic issues, while the state-appointed emergency financial manager has power over the budget ..."

Madison Heights district settles with teachers union

"... the Madison Heights Education Association and school district have reached a contract settlement that will result in more money for teachers."

Legislature passes school pension reform

"Michigan legislators have passed school pension reform that is estimated to save taxpayers about $970 million during the next two years ..."

Attorney General: ‘Protect Our Jobs’ should be kept off ballot

"Attorney General Bill Schuette has serious concerns about a proposed amendment that would prevent state and local government, including public schools, from passing almost any law to limit public sector union collective bargaining ..."

Michigan Department of Education releases school grades

"The Michigan Department of Education released its revised grades of Michigan school districts ..."

New charter public school focused on entrepreneurial education

"A new charter public school opening this fall will focus on entrepreneurship and mathematics ..."

Is the National Education Association facing a pension crisis?

"... the National Education Association may be facing pension payout obligations of nearly $700 million."

Dearborn district must provide transportation to better schools

"Schools with large achievement gaps are now required to set aside transportation funding to send students to schools with smaller gaps ..."

AFT wants to end to ‘high-stakes testing,’ increase taxes

"At its annual meeting in Detroit, the American Federation of Teachers called for an end to what it calls “high-stakes testing" ..."

Teachers unions give $1 million to 'Protect Our Jobs' initiative

"The effort to limit legislative oversight of public-sector bargaining has received large financial support from labor and teacher unions ..."

Should U.S. math curriculum and standards be revised?

"Commentary published in The New York Times proposes taking a closer look at how math is taught in U.S. schools."

Michigan’s teaching population aging

"Michigan teachers are staying in their jobs longer, leaving fewer jobs for new teachers ..."

Ann Arbor district balks at written superintendent evaluation

"Though Michigan law requires school districts to conduct written evaluations of employees ..."

Legislature fails to pass school pension reform

"The Michigan Legislature has failed to pass pension reform for the state’s public school teachers ..."

Michigan granted NCLB waiver

"The U.S. Department of Education has granted Michigan a waiver from some requirements of the No Child Left Behind act ..."

Detroit targets vacant buildings near schools for demolition

"State money from a mortgage settlement fund could be used to demolish abandoned buildings near public schools ..."

MSU study: Americans support local control of school districts

"An analysis of 40 years of public surveys found that Americans support local school board control ..."

Work group begins updating education finance laws

"A working group charged with updating the Michigan School Finance Act met last week ..."

Charterized school system contract details posted

"The management agreement between the Muskegon Heights School Board and a charter public school operator has been made available ..."

Muskegon ISD school board supports emergency manager’s reforms

"The Muskegon Area Intermediate School District is ready to implement the emergency manager’s reforms in Muskegon Heights, even if the state’s emergency manager law is struck down ..."

Canada offers international school choice to Michigan students

"Canada is offering Michigan high school students the opportunity to attend five of its best schools in Windsor ..."

DPS union president says union won’t honor new contract

"Detroit Public Schools has published its new teachers union contract ..."

Achievement gap grows for Michigan high school students

"An analysis of statewide Michigan Merit Exam scores found that the achievement gap between black and white students has grown during the past five years in all subjects except social studies ..."

National Education Association director criticizes Gov. Snyder

"At the National Education Association’s annual meeting, the NEA executive director criticized the governors of Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin for failing to embrace organized labor ..."

DPS chief implements new contract

"The emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools implemented a new contract for teachers Sunday ..."

Manchester looking for alternatives to MESSA

"Manchester Community Schools recently approved a new agreement with its teachers union to limit health insurance costs and will seek a new provider ..."

Battle Creek could privatize busing

"Battle Creek Public Schools is seeking bids from private competitors for its transportation needs ..."

Michigan denied NCLB waiver

"Five states were granted waivers last week from the federal No Child Left Behind act, but Michigan was not one of them ..."

State sets new list of ‘best practices’

"Michigan public schools must compete seven of eight new “best practices” to receive an additional $52 per student ..."

llegal teacher strike possible in Detroit

"Detroit Public Schools and the Detroit Federation of Teachers are just beginning to negotiate a new contract for the one that expires June 30 ..."

Hudson cuts teacher pay 6 percent

"The Hudson school board has implemented a 6 percent pay reduction for teachers as contract negotiations there continue ..."

Galesburg-August considers privatization to save money

"Galesburg-Augusta schools could move forward with a plan to privatize custodial and janitorial services unless the unions representing those employees can come up with $180,000 in concessions by the end of June ..."

Highland Park could charterize district

"The emergency manager appointed to Highland Park schools wants to turn operation of the district over to a charter management company to keep it open ..."

Mount Pleasant alternative school could go online

"Mount Pleasant Public Schools could convert its alternative high school into an online-only program in order to balance its 2013 budget ..."

Black charter school students top host district counterparts

"Black students in charter public schools outperformed their counterparts in conventional school districts and statewide on the 2011 MEAP test ..."

DPS to lose $4 million due to low attendance

"Detroit Public Schools will have to repay the state $4.2 million after attendance fell below 75 percent on several target dates during the 2010-2011 school year ..."

DeWitt to sell timber to help solve overspending crisis

"DeWitt Public Schools plans to make about $43,000 by selling timber located on school property, including some trees that could be 200 years old ..."

Lear gives $1.5 million to Detroit tutoring program

"Juniors and seniors at the East English Village Preparatory Academy will be paid to help tutor middle schools students as part of a $1.5 million grant Lear Corp. is giving Detroit Public Schools ..."

Senate opts not to vote on school pension reform bill

"The Michigan Legislature recessed for a month without passing a controversial school employee pension reform bill ..."

Governor backs $4 million teacher evaluation pilot program

"Gov. Rick Snyder said he supports a year-long pilot program to study teacher evaluation processes in 12 school districts statewide, but wants to cap the cost at $4 million ..."

Detroit teachers union threatens lawsuit over hiring practices

"The Detroit Federation of Teachers says it might sue Detroit Public Schools over the evaluation and hiring process of teachers for the 2012-2013 school year ..."

Unemployment fraud uncovered at Detroit Public Schools

"More than 30 current and former Detroit Public Schools employees have been identified in an alleged unemployment fraud scheme ..."