Paul Hill

Amazon Author Page: Paul Hill, Author

Paul T. Hill is Founder of the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Research Professor at the University of Washington Bothell. His current work focuses on re-missioning states and school districts to promote school performance; school choice and innovation; finance and productivity; and improving rural schools.

Dr. Hill’s ideas have profoundly impacted education reform nationwide, influencing the way that many scholars, policymakers, and education leaders think about how the U.S. public education system can be restructured. His development of the portfolio school district management strategy has directly shaped education reform initiatives in cities like New York and New Orleans, among others. He launched the Portfolio School Districts Project in 2008, and built a national network of district officials, mayors, foundations, nonprofits, and others pursuing the portfolio strategy. Dr. Hill has been a trusted advisor to many of the nation's leading superintendents, state chiefs, and governors; he works closely with city and state leaders facing the need to transform their urban public school systems, and is a frequent source of expertise for legislators and the media. He chaired the National Charter School Research Project and its Charter School Achievement Consensus Panel, as well as Brookings National Working Commission on Choice in K-12 Education.

Dr. Hill is lead author (with Lawrence Pierce and James Guthrie) of Reinventing Public Education: How Contracting Can Transform America’s Schools (University of Chicago Press, 1997). The book concludes that public schools should be operated by independent organizations under contract with public school boards, rather than by government bureaucracies. These ideas profoundly influenced the Education Commission of the States 1999 report, "Governing America's Schools." His books include A Democratic Constitution for Public Education (2014), Strife and Progress: Portfolio Strategies for Managing Urban Schools (2012), Learning as We Go: Why School Choice Is Worth the Wait (2010), Making School Reform Work: New Partnerships for Real Change (2004), Charter Schools and Accountability in Public Education (2002), It Takes A City: Getting Serious About Urban School Reform (2000), and Fixing Urban Schools (1998). He is editor (with Julian Betts) of Taking Measure of Charter Schools: Better Assessments, Better Policymaking, Better Schools (2010), and editor of Charter Schools Against the Odds (2006). 

Before joining the University of Washington faculty, Dr. Hill worked for 17 years as a Senior Social Scientist in RAND’s Washington office, where he served as Director of Washington Operations (1981-87) and Director of the Education and Human Resources program (1979-80). He conducted studies of site-based management, governance of decentralized school systems, effective high schools, business-led education reforms, and immigrant education, and contributed to studies of defense research, development, and acquisition policy. As a government employee (1970-77), Hill directed the National Institute of Education's Compensatory Education Study (a Congressionally mandated assessment of federal aid to elementary and secondary education) and conducted research on housing and education for the Office of Economic Opportunity. He also served two years as a Congressional Fellow and Congressional staff member. Dr. Hill holds a PhD and MA from Ohio State University and a BA from Seattle University, all in Political Science.

10/2018
The Uncertain Future of Teaching

This essay explores the need for new models that expand who works with students and differentiate teaching roles to a far greater degree.

01/2018
Unlocking Potential: How Political Skill Can Maximize Superintendent Effectiveness

This paper examines the characteristics of effective superintendents and offers guidance for current and aspiring district leaders as well as those offering superintendent training programs.

04/2017
How States Can Promote Local Innovation, Options, and Problem-Solving in Public Education

State policy should encourage and empower school district innovation and improvement strategies.

03/2017
The Power of Persuasion: A Model for Effective Political Leadership by State Chiefs

Paul Hill and Ashley Jochim offer ideas and examples for how state chiefs can best use their powers to effectively lead the improvement of schools and districts.

11/2016
The SEA of the Future: Maximizing Opportunities Under ESSA

Edited by Ashley Jochim and Betheny Gross, the sixth and final volume of the SEA of the Future provides SEAs a new framework under ESSA for strategic planning and concrete tools for implementation.

Date: Nov 27 2012
Where: JW Marriott, Washington, DC

Paul Hill will moderate a Strategy Session on accountability-based flexibility for school districts.

Date: Jan 10 2012
Where: Online

This webinar provides an introduction to the portfolio strategy, why districts adopt it, what they find challenging, and whether they are seeing benefits to students.

Sep 19 2019

In the Houston Chronicle, Ashley Jochim and Paul Hill write that while state takeovers may be falling out of fashion in some circles, their track record is more positive than critics claim and could make a difference for Houston schools.

Jul 8 2019

Drawing from our 25th Anniversary essay collection, The 74 highlights eight of the biggest ideas and proposals CRPE presented about the next era of public education.

Jul 3 2019

Paul Hill and Robin Lake are quoted in this PolitiFact article on the history of busing.

May 30 2019

Paul Hill speaks with NPR's On Point about the four-day school week.

May 6 2019

Paul Hill is interviewed on NPR 1A about the four-day school week.

Feb 17 2021

District and school leaders can no longer presume parents’ trust in schools, or forget that it must be constantly renewed during and after the pandemic.

Jan 27 2021

An increasing number of children will attend schools that deliver instruction, use time, and define the work of teachers and students very differently.

Oct 6 2020

We looked closely at six districts and charter management organizations (CMOs), hoping to understand why they took particular approaches to remote learning and how their experiences last spring affected their plans for the fall.

Jun 23 2020

Parents we interviewed wondered what they could do this summer to compensate for the lack of social interaction.

Jun 19 2020

For schools to have effective working relationships with parents as co-teachers, they must manage the teacher-family-student triangle more closely than in the past.