Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D., is the former Director of Education Policy for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a nonprofit research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Michigan.

Before joining the Mackinac Center in 2002, Johnson was Senior Policy Analyst for The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis in Washington, D.C. where he conducted statistical research on academic achievement issues. Prior to that, he worked at the U.S. Census Bureau, George Mason University, the University of North Texas, and taught economics at a college in Fort Worth, Texas. His research has been featured in a host of publications across the nation, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Investor's Business Daily, and the Detroit News. His Ph.D. is in Public Policy from George Mason University.

By Dr. Kirk A. Johnson

Time to Refocus Special Education on Reading Achievement

The fact that the IDEA program comes with federal money [means] school districts have a strong incentive to classify more students as being learning disabled. … more

"Six Habits" Recommended to Improve Public School District Finances

New study will help schools marshall scarce resources for better education. Register for Wednesday forum. … more

The Six Habits of Fiscally Responsible Public School Districts

An Assessment of What Michigan Public School Districts Can Do to Save Money Without Laying Off Teachers or Other Essential Staff … more

Time to Stop Beating Up on Charter Schools

The dirty little secret of Michigan’s education establishment is that it doesn’t really believe the system (that is, itself) needs to be reformed. That’s why reformers devised the idea of charter schools, and vouchers and tax credits: as ways to impose reform from outside the system. … more

Granholm Should Move MEAP Test Administration Back to Education Department

MIDLAND—Governor-elect Jennifer Granholm should move the administration of the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) test back to the education department, says Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D., director of education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. … more

Which Educational Achievement Test is Best for Michigan?

Michigan’s Public Charter Schools See MEAP Scores Rise Faster than Regular Public Schools

Charter school students scored lower, but are improving faster, than those in regular public schools. … more

A Choice Option that Saves Money for Public Schools?

A well-crafted tax credit plan will simply relieve the public schools of the obligation to teach a relatively small percentage of students across the state, while providing the resources to increase the average student expenditure. … more

POLICY BRIEF: Which Educational Achievement Test Is Best for Michigan?

A number of commercial firms publish high-quality, low-cost educational achievement tests that could potentially replace the MEAP test. A Comparison of the MEAP, SAT-9, and ITBS. … more