Our Work

CRPE has a history of producing transformational research

The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) is a research organization at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College where transformative ideas are rigorously examined and tested, and research informs action. We are truth tellers who combine forward-thinking ideas with empirical rigor. Since 1993, we have been untethered to any one ideology but unwavering in a core belief: that public education is a goal—to prepare every child for citizenship, economic independence, and personal fulfillment—and not a particular set of institutions.

From that foundation, we work to understand what it will take for public education to meet the needs of every student, in order to inform meaningful changes in policy and practice.

Our current research explores four broad topics: 

Students and families: We work to understand what students and families need from their  education system. 

Systems: We examine the inner workings of schools, districts, and state governments, delivering insights into how our education systems work to meet the needs of students, families, and communities. 

Innovations: We identify promising initiatives outside the traditional education system that have the potential to radically improve teaching and learning.

Politics of change: We study the critical role of politics in determining whether school systems deliver on their promise, and explore the ways public officials, school system leaders, and change-makers can factor political thinking into their strategies for improving education. 

By partnering with Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, a leader in designing the next education workforce, we are uniquely positioned to produce evidence and ideas that lead the country toward an education system that meets the needs of every student. Over the next five years, we aim to be the go-to source for defining a clear vision and high bar for successful post-pandemic recovery, tracking progress toward that vision, and testing bold ideas for students.

Our History

CRPE was founded by Paul T. Hill in 1993 to explore how public oversight and funding could be made compatible with school effectiveness. For two decades, CRPE focused on the portfolio strategy, in which education and civic leaders develop a citywide system of high-quality, diverse, autonomous public schools by placing educators directly in charge of their schools, empowering parents to choose the right schools for their children, and focusing school system leaders on overseeing school success.

Our founding book, Reinventing Public Education, first outlined the portfolio model, which was later adopted by districts in New York City, New Orleans, Denver, Indianapolis, and other cities. 

CRPE, a self-sustaining organization funded through public and private grants, was originally based at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy, and moved to UW Bothell in 2012. In 2022, CRPE began a new partnership with the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University.


We produce world-class, peer-reviewed research that’s interesting, significant, and trustworthy.

The Lens

We look around the corner, comment on relevant issues, and propose new ideas.


Through our Big Think and Portfolio networks, we learn from city, state, and nonprofit leaders in their communities and we inform their work with evidence.