Phil's column

Phil Power is founder and chairman
of the Center for Michigan.

Archived columns

Leaving elections in the hands of plutocrats

There is something deeply disgusting when a very few people dominate financing of our ostensibly “democratic” political system without even the pretense of public engagement.

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A broken back, polio and the test of character

A book recounting how FDR’s struggles with polio helped shape his worldview reminds the author of a turning point in his own life.

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Early learning summit in June could impact Michigan’s children

The CMU event, open to the public, will bring experts on early childhood development from around the world to Michigan.

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Could a public boarding school model work in Detroit?

A program in Washington D.C., Baltimore and Miami holds promise for low-income students, but going big with this reform carries its own risks.

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Third-grade reading improvement and other fixes for Michigan classrooms

The Michigan Legislature needs to get moving by passing critical reforms that will reverse the state’s declining performance

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Who wins when residents don’t know the people making policy?

When political parties control who gets nominated for the state board of education and other policy offices, the candidates that emerge are too often the product of special interests.

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Put politics aside, and invest in the tools that help children learn

There’s compelling evidence that investing in infants all the way through age eight brings disproportionately high returns.

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Wisdom trumps politics in getting a second Detroit bridge to Canada

Canadian officials overcome the Ambassador Bridge owner and the empty promises of Washington to get key economic project pushed through.

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Governor’s budget shows planning for the long term

Gov. Snyder’s push to put more money in higher education and early education programs shows an interest in what’s best for Michigan over the long haul.

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GOP’s broad ambitions should be subordinate to one: improving education

States like Tennessee have shot past Michigan in student performance by setting long-term policy goals and sticking with them.

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Giving parents the tools to truly compare schools

Our in-depth analysis goes even deeper this year because we’ve crunched student data in more grades than ever

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Gov. Snyder goes big, bold in reimagining government programs

Governor cuts through the clutter and inefficiency of government operations to envision a more ‘human-focused” future for Michigan residents

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Crime, crime everywhere

A recent study co-written by the Mackinac Center shows how Michigan lawmakers have larded the criminal code with thousands of (often arcane) offenses that many folks wouldn’t consider inherently wrong.

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Turning to families to improve children’s future

Plenty of evidence that gains in learning during a child’s development go right back to the day a baby is born.

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Paying Jim Harbaugh millions to coach U-M makes business sense

Even at $5 million a year, hiring a big-name coach like Harbaugh – especially one the fan base thinks will walk on water – makes enormous sense when you consider ticket sales and Harbaugh’s professed interest in academics as well as football talent.

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Detroit rescued by great leaders who kept showing up

A cast of judges, lawyers and politicians united by a shared sense of responsibility helped usher the city through bankruptcy with remarkable speed.

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State needs Senate to pass bipartisan bills to improve teacher evaluation and training

Maybe the best things that can be said about the current “lame duck” session of the legislature is that it gives lawmakers a chance to make amends for purely political posturing before the election and to take a shot at actually governing […]

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Transforming Detroit into a city that (also) works

By giving residents a point person in their district to solve problems, Detroit finally may be moving beyond the frustrating bureaucracy of generations past.

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