Applying research to education policy
“Rigorous and thoughtful education research can effectively frame important policy debates across states and in local communities,” says Mark Murphy, PhD ’20. As a doctoral candidate in education policy and the economics of education at the GSE, Murphy hopes to build a more detailed understanding of programs and policies that are working for Latinx, Native American and Alaska Native students. Prior to attending the GSE, Murphy helped review and shape education policies for these populations as a committee staff member in both the California and New Mexico state legislatures. Before that, he taught eighth-grade math and history in the Pueblo of Zuni. In the classroom, he saw firsthand how the inclusion of tribal elders and local community members into the curriculum helped stimulate deeper learning for his students and strengthened the relationship between local schools and the community.
As he moves in the research direction, he credits his time as a teacher with helping him think about how policy decisions ultimately impact students and schools. “As a teacher, you quickly obtain an appreciation for the incredible complexity that exists in every classroom. The broad aim of my research is to contribute to our understanding of this complexity and to help identify nuanced policies that improve the quality of education for students in every corner of the nation.”