[Photo of Michael Van Beek]

Michael Van Beek

Director of Research

Michael Van Beek is director of research for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He joined the Mackinac Center in June 2009 as director of education policy. He has authored several studies for the Center as well as analysis and commentaries that have been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, The Grand Rapids Press, The Oakland Press and elsewhere.

For four years prior to working at the Center, Van Beek taught political philosophy, government, economics and history at North Hills Classical Academy, a private primary and secondary school in Grand Rapids. He also served one year as a North Hills assistant administrator.

Van Beek obtained his Master of Arts in American history from Purdue University and his Bachelor of Arts in history from Hope College.

He lives in Midland, Mich., with his wife, three children, a dog and an assortment of semi-domesticated creatures, including a coyote named Gandalf, a fox named Felix and the Harrisons, a family of red-tail hawks.

Center Adds Two New Scholars to Board

One from Hillsdale, one from MSU. … more

New Evidence: Right-to-Work Laws Work

Center scholar co-authors CEI study. … more

Michigan Future Report Doesn't Add Up

Academic research favors low-tax states. … more

MEA Embraces More Outsourcing

But still protests when schools do it. … more

Center Adds New Scholar to Team

Jason Taylor, CMU professor and economist. … more

Electricity Competition in Illinois

Consumers save $240 annually. … more

What Right-to-Work Means

A view from a union contract. … more

Analysis: Misleading Commercial on Electric Rates

Comparison to Texas invalid, dishonest. … more

Center Adds Three New Scholars to Board

Chris Douglas, Michael Hicks, Todd Nesbit. … more

Michigan Needs Electricity Competition

Monopoly led to 27 percent rate increase. … more

Legislature Considers Two Center Ideas

New bills on school grading, third-grade reading proficiency. … more

Berrien Springs Public Schools: Reinventing School — Becoming a District of Choices

In this latest installment of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's new "Schools of Innovation" series, we discuss how Berrien Springs school district is reinventing public school. This study examines how the district has become more racially diverse, enrollment is growing rapidly, and they are using that growth to inject some much needed balance to the school funds. All this has been due to the district’s expansion of digital learning options, becoming a “district of choices.” The effectiveness of virtual learning and the resulting increase in district enrollment have fueled the expansion of other school programs — a marked contrast to the many Michigan school districts that have struggled to maintain their offerings during the state's economic slump. … more

It’s For the Kids, Right?

Common Core Clarification

"Promising but dangerous" is the right description. … more

Michigan vs. Florida

This study is an examination of Florida and Michigan's performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress's (NAEP) standardized test, often referred to as "the nation's report card." Immediately prior to and during Florida's immense improvement on these scores from the past 15 years, the state made substantial changes to its public education system. Some of these policies have been rigorously studied and have shown a positive impact on Florida students that Michigan should emulate to improve its static performance. … more

Huffington Post Gets it Wrong ... Again

Story mischaracterizes study on Michigan charters. … more

A ‘Common’ Debate: Common Core Curriculum Standards Are Promising But Dangerous

Average Teacher Salaries Climb

MDE data at $62,631 for 2010-2011 school year. … more

No Link Between Charters, Segregation

New study disproves commonly held myth. … more

Two Charter Public Schools Being Closed

If only all schools faced the same accountability. … more

Politics Alive and Well in Public Schools

Brandon board won't sell vacant building to charter group. … more

Don't Trust Ed-Trust on Charter Schools

Group seeks ed reform, but misses mark on charters. … more

The Preschool Paradox

An extra year of kindergarten vs. Great Start. … more

Teacher Merit Pay in India

A model Michigan should consider. … more

Despite Claims, Michigan School Funding Higher Than a Decade Ago; Way More Than Decades Past

Great Myths About Great Start

Average Superintendent Compensation in Michigan

Searchable database now available online. … more

Tall Tales

DPS scores get a closer look. … more

School Choice Has Helped Michigan Students

National School Choice Week

More than 3,500 events scheduled nationwide. … more

Charter Schools Produce Huge ROI

One-quarter less spending, 45 percent more results. … more

Huffington Post Gets Charter School Study Wrong

Article ignores gains made by charter school students. … more

Ed. Establishment Downplays Charter Study

New Stanford study's methedology beyond reproach. … more

Charter School Market Working

Those run by for-profits benefit students most. … more

Michigan Charter Schools a Smashing Success

New Stanford study most thorough analysis yet. … more

Iceberg Ahead: Unions May Play Right-to-Work Off on Teachers

Alcohol and Merit Pay

Per-Pupil Spending About Even

Fears about Oxford proposal misplaced. … more

Right-to-Work: What Now for Schools?

Districts should resist union calls for contract extensions. … more

Schools Put Unions Ahead of Teachers on Right-to-Work

"Labor accord" more important than employee freedom. … more

A Quick Lesson on School Vouchers

Educators misleading on reform bills. … more

The V-Word

School funding reform is not about vouchers. … more

Real Merit Pay for Michigan Teachers

Super-Seniority

Are school union bosses more valuable than teachers? … more

'Non-Teaching' Staff Up 702 Percent Since 1950

More teachers, more staff, more cost; lower test scores. … more

New High School Performance Database

Online "report card" searchable, sortable. … more