LAERI's origins can be traced to a white paper drafted by Phillips and Yamashiro in 2009, outlining a partnership between researchers and school districts modeled loosely on similar efforts in Chicago, Baltimore, New York, and other cities. Based on feedback from educators, school district leaders, researchers, and community members, LAERI evolved into an independent, Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that works in partnership with faculty research affiliates from universities across the L.A. basin and the nation.