About the Center on Reinventing Public Education

The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) is a nonpartisan research center. We have always believed inequities are hard-wired into our public education system in both obvious and subtle ways. Our core business is studying efforts to rewire the system for school coherence, ongoing improvement, and excellence for every student—moving from the classroom, to the school, to policy implications. 

We envision a public education system that truly prepares every student for the challenges of the future. The question is, how must adult practices and systems shift to make sure this happens?


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


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.

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 much of the past 25 years, CRPE focused on the portfolio strategy, which originated as a solution to many of the challenges facing public education. While the key pillars of that strategy remain vitally important, CRPE has shifted our lens from schools to students. 

Originally based at the University of Washington’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, CRPE joined UW Bothell in 2012. CRPE is a self-sustaining organization funded through public and private research and operational grants. Today, CRPE is led by Director Robin Lake, who also serves as Affiliate Faculty, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, at UW Bothell. Senior researchers include Betheny Gross, Michael DeArmond, and Ashley Jochim. Learn more about our experts and staff.

What Sets Us Apart

We are open to all possible solutions to measurably improve outcomes for all students. We work in the creative center across ideological lines to achieve strong, equitable schooling at scale, empower families, and inform and encourage effective governance.

We challenge all assumptions and see public education as a goal, not as a set of fixed institutions. We formulate new options that are bold in prescription, but grounded in evidence and the realities of implementation.

We believe:

  • Improvements depend on adept political and community engagement, not just good policy.
  • Incentives matter and that the structure and governance of financing and service delivery systems determine those incentives.
  • Parent choice is essential but not magic.

We recognize the significant progress in urban education reform, but are mindful that opportunities are uneven and much work remains. With new technical advances and changes in the economy, even the most effective schools must develop new approaches to better serve students with individualized learning pathways or support.

We make sense of complex trends and data, communicate new possibilities for system change, and provide guidance and thought leadership to support that change. We pride ourselves on our ability to see around the corner, reach across traditional party and sector lines, and craft solutions to problems few have anticipated.