Mark Van Ryzin is currently collaborating with E|E co-founder Ted Kolderie to develop a classification system or “taxonomy” for schools. Mark and Ted share the belief that, when evaluating schools, we must go beyond the surface of simple jurisdictional labels (i.e., “charter vs. district” or “public vs. private”) to consider how, at a deeper level, schools differ from one another. Rather than being a basis for comparing schools, chartering and private schooling are only mechanisms that enable educational innovation to arise. It is the innovations, not the mode of governance, that should be the target of our research efforts. As a result, Mark and Ted are developing a taxonomy that will describe schools more precisely and enable researchers and policymakers to isolate those factors that truly contribute to students’ behavioral, emotional and academic outcomes.
Mark is a PhD student in Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. His research interests include innovation in education, adolescent development, teacher-student relationships, and teacher education and professional development. Mark received his M.A. in Educational Psychology from the U of M in 2006, and his Master’s thesis addressed motivation and psychological development in secondary school. Mark’s work has been published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology and the Journal of School Psychology, and he has presented at a number of conferences, including the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AREA), the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), and the Gates Foundation’s Emerging Research Symposium.