K-12 Education



The U.S. workforce depends upon the K-12 educational system for basic academic skills and career information and exploration. Yet, the K-12 educational system has received considerable criticism because of lagging student achievement, which some believe has or will translate into lagging economic competitiveness. The Upjohn Institute provides information and research findings that contribute to our understanding of the factors that affect student achievement and that can lead to improvements in K-12 education. A unique element of the Institute’s research activities includes an examination of the effects of the Kalamazoo Promise, a place-based scholarship program, on K-12 education in local districts.


  • Will increased choice and competition improve student achievement?
  • How have charter schools affected student achievement?
  • What effects do teachers unions have on student achievement?
  • Does the labor market for teachers result in efficient and equitable compensation?
  • What improvements might be made to the current system of K-12 educational finance?
  • How has the Kalamazoo Promise affected enrollment and student achievement?

Selected Institute Research

A Second Look at Enrollment Changes after the Kalamazoo Promise
Brad J. Hershbein, Upjohn Institute
Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 13-200, June 2013

The Short-Term Effects of the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship on Student Outcomes
Timothy Bartik, Upjohn Institute
Marta Lachowska, Upjohn Institute and Stockholm University
Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 12-186, August 2012

The Kalamazoo Promise, and Enrollment and Achievement Trends in Kalamazoo Public Schools
Timothy Bartik, Upjohn Institute
Randall Eberts, Upjohn Institute
Wei-Jang Huang, Senior Research Analyst
Paper presented at PromiseNet Conference, June 2010

Teachers Unions and Student Performance: Help or Hindrance?
Randall Eberts, Upjohn Institute
In The Future of Children, Excellence in the Classroom, Vol. 17(1): 175-200, 2007
Princeton University and Brookings Institution

An Examination of Student Achievement in Michigan Charter Schools
Randall Eberts, Upjohn Institute
Kevin Hollenbeck, Upjohn Institute
In Michael Baye, John Maxwell (eds.) Improving School Accountability
(Advances in Applied Microeconomics, Volume 14)
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.103-130

Teacher Performance Incentives and Student Outcomes
Kevin Hollenbeck, Upjohn Institute
Randall Eberts, Upjohn Institute
Joe Stone, University of Oregon
Journal of Human Resources 37(4): 913-927, 2002.

More Institute Research about K-12 Education