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.

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.

10/2016
Sticking Points: How School Districts Experience Implementing the Portfolio Strategy

This analysis of trends across portfolio districts shows where cities are making progress on strategy implementation and where they are getting bogged down.

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.

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.

Apr 17 2019

Paul Hill is quoted in Times Higher Education about the four-day school week.

Apr 27 2018

Paul Hill responds to Iris Rotberg's book "Choosing Charters: Better Schools or More Segregation?" for Education Next.

Jun 10 2019

Paul Hill argues that the question of effects of charter growth on district schools and students is important enough to warrant thorough and objective study and that we should not settle for incomplete or cherry-picked evidence.

Apr 3 2019

Paul Hill urges reporters and analysts to make apples-to-apples comparisons when analyzing research on school outcomes. 

Feb 20 2019

In a look at Chicago's dramatic school improvements, Paul Hill argues that school autonomy distinguishes high-performing schools from the run of the mill.

Jan 28 2019

The framings of “privatization” and “billionaire takeover” get attention, but not results.

Dec 26 2018

Despite periodic stalemates, a local portfolio strategy will very likely endure, spread, and continue to evolve.