Richard Lofton: Listen to families for better policy
Richard Lofton named his study of Baltimore schools “Nobody Asked Me,” because that was the refrain the Johns Hopkins School of Education researcher often heard from Baltimore students and their families when he talked with them about education policies. From curriculum and instruction to school safety and health, respondents told Lofton, “Nobody asked me.”
So, Lofton is asking. And listening. Backed by a $75,000 Catalyst Award from Johns Hopkins and a Racial Equity Special Research Grant from the Spencer Foundation, he and his team are asking provocative questions such as: What does justice look like? What does success look like? In response, they are hearing stories not only of schools but also of community safety, mental health, employment, transportation, the struggles of learning in the age of COVID-19, and everything in between.
The result will be a catalog of 150 in-depth interviews of Baltimore young people between 14 and 25 and their parents and/or caretakers. The long-term hope, Lofton says, is that simply by asking—and listening—the “Nobody Asked Me” campaign will inspire city council members, school board leaders, teachers, businesspeople, and legislators to make better policies to support the young people and families who need them most.
One thing that always comes up is they say, ‘Nobody asked me about these policies’ or ‘Nobody asked me about this curriculum—nobody asked my opinion.’ What does it look like for Baltimore students and their parents to have a voice at the table?
Richard Lofton, PhD
Principal Investigator, “Nobody Asked Me”
‘NOBODY ASKED ME’: RESEARCH PROJECT EXPANDS THE NARRATIVE OF BALTIMORE RESIDENTS
A research team led by Richard Lofton has launched “Nobody Asked Me,” a study that will document the experiences of Baltimore’s young people, ages 14 to 25, and their guardians. Lofton says insights gained from the traditionally underserved group could shape education and public policy for decades.
BOOT CAMP FOR BLOCK CAPTAINS
Assistant Professor Richard Lofton and a Baltimore nonprofit coalition will receive a quarter-million dollars from the JHU Innovation Fund for Community Safety to train “block captains” who will organize, advocate, and act on behalf of their communities.
CSOS WINS MAJOR FEDERAL GRANT FOR SECONDARY SKILLS SUCCESS
The Center for Social Organization of Schools has been awarded a multi-year federal EIR grant to build scalable Skills for Secondary School Success (4S). Principal investigator Robert Balfanz is joined by Douglas Mac Iver, Marcia Davis, Martha Mac Iver, and Richard Lofton as the senior leadership team.
LOFTON EXAMINES INEQUITIES IN ACADEMIC TRACKING
In a new ethnographic study of African American middle school students, Richard Lofton finds the persistence of a “separate but equal” legacy in many schools’ practice of academic tracking. His findings suggest that these students face multiple challenges and systemic inequalities even when self-selecting classes.
NOBODY ASKED ME PROJECT
This campaign aims to ensure students grow up in safe, healthy, and healing environments where they can learn and develop the skills to thrive in Baltimore.
CENTER FOR THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OF SCHOOLS
The center maintains a staff of full-time sociologists, psychologists, social psychologists, and educators who conduct programmatic research to improve the education system, as well as full-time support staff engaged in developing curricula and providing technical assistance to help schools use the center’s research.
At the Johns Hopkins School of Education, our research builds on evidence in new and dynamic ways to bring practical, scalable ideas to education’s foremost challenges.