Faculty & Staff Directory

Richard Lofton Portrait

Richard Lofton, PhD

Assistant Professor

Keywords: African American students; tracking and ability grouping; neighborhoods; theories of race and racism; concentrated poverty; social justice and equity

O: 410-516-8874

Dr. Richard Lofton is a sociologist of education, applied researcher, theorist, activist, policy influencer, and educator.  His funded research has examined academic placement, racially diverse schools, mentoring programs, concentrated poverty, and social and emotional development. Dr. Lofton has been funded by the Spencer Foundation, Gates Foundation, Education Innovation and Research Grant, American Sociological Association, National Science Foundation, Arnold Foundation, and Baltimore Community Foundation.  He received an early career award at Johns Hopkins University with the Catalyst Grant.  His research positions African American students, parents, and community members not as the problem but rather as an integral part of the solution to equity, justice and the humanization of their lived experiences. Currently, Dr. Lofton is the Principal Investigator of the Nobody Asked Me Campaign.  Through this research campaign, Dr. Lofton, his research team, and an advisory board comprised of community activists, city agency directors, school board members, school district leaders, and experts center the voices and experiences of over 300 African American students and their parents in Baltimore as they relate to education, violence, transportation, housing, and school infrastructure. Their goal is to co-produce policies, strategies, and practices along with African American parents, students, and community members to promote equity and justice in educational resources, opportunities, and experiences.

EDUCATION

Ph.D. 2015 Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
Department of Education Policy & Social Analysis, Program of Sociology and Education
Dissertation Defense June 2014; Dissertation Title – Plessy’s Tracks: A Study of the Roots and Routes of Tracking in a Suburban Middle School Community.
Advisors: Drs. Carolyn Riehl and Ernest Morrell

MPhil. 2013 Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
Department of Education Policy & Social Analysis, Program of Sociology and Education

M.S. 2004 University of Utah
Department of Communication Studies

B.A. 2001 San Jose State University
Department of Communication Studies

RESEARCH EXPERIENCES

Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute
Associate Director, Years: 2018-Present

Center for Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins University School of Education

Assistant Professor, Years: 2016-Present

RESEARCH INTERESTS

Education Policy and Public Policy
Sociology of Education
Concentrated Poverty and Education
Qualitative Field Research Methods
Academic Placement
Race, Place and Education

FUNDED RESEARCH

2021-2024.  Lofton, R.  Block Captain Boot Camp, No Boundaries Coalition. Johns Hopkins University Fund for Community Safety. Awarded $250,000.  Principal Investigator/JHU Partner.

2021-2022.  Lofton, R. Using Media Arts to Document the Experiences of Baltimorean Students and Their Families to Address their Educational and Humanistic Needs. Healing and Transformative Justice Fund. Awarded $25,000.  Principal Investigator.

2021-2022.  Lofton, R.  Nobody Asked Me Campaign: Co-producing Policies and Re-imagining Educational Equity. Spencer Foundation: Racial Equity Special Research Grant.  Awarded $75,000. Principal Investigator.

2021-2025. Lofton, R.  Refining and Expanding the Effective Use of 4S: An Evidence-Based Program to Increase Adolescents’ Ability to Self-Manage their School Success.  Education Innovation and Research (EIR), U.S. Department of Education. Co-Investigator. Awarded $5.87 million.  Principal Investigator: Robert Balfanz.

2020- 2021. Lofton, R.  Nobody Asked Me Campaign: Connecting Community with Research.  Baltimore Community Foundation.  Principal Investigator. Awarded $17,376.

2020- 2021. Lofton, R. Catalyst Award:  Early Career Award.  Principal Investigator. Awarded $75,000.

2020-2021.  Lofton R. & Purifoye, G. American Sociological Association & National Science Foundation, Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline. Principal Investigator. Awarded $7,940.

2016-2019. Balfanz, R., Lofton, R., & MacIver, D. National Evaluation of School Success Mentor Initiative.     Co-Principal Investigator. The Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Awarded $1.4 million.

  1. Lofton, R. A Better Tomorrow. Principal Investigator. Awarded $12,000.
  2.  
  3. Lofton, R. A Better Tomorrow. Principal Investigator. Awarded $10,000.
PUBLICATIONS

Lofton, R. (2021).  Plessy’s Tracks:  African American Students Address Tracking. Race, Ethnicity and Education.

 

Childs, J. & Lofton, R. (2021).  Masking Attendance: How Education Policy Distracts from the Wicked Problems(s) of Chronic Absenteeism.  Educational Policy

 

Shafstein, J. Klosek, K. Thornton, R. & Lofton, R. (2020).  Baltimore City Public Schools infrastructure 

dashboard. Johns Hopkins University. See full Report on JHU Center for Applied Public Research:  https://appliedresearch.jhu.edu/baltimore-school-equity/

 

Lofton, R. (2019).  The duplicity of equality: An analysis of academic placement in a racially diverse school and a Black community. Teachers College Record, 121(3).

Lofton, R. (2019). Still chasing the dream:  The possibilities and limitations of social capital in dismantling racialized tracks. In R. D. Bartee and P. George (Eds.), Contemporary perspectives on social capital in educational contexts (pp. 107-124). Information Age Publishing.

Lofton, R.  (2016). Report on the pilot implementation of My Brother’s Keeper School Success Mentor Initiative. Johns Hopkins University, Center for Social Organization of Schools.    Funded by the Arnold Foundation.

Lofton, R. & Davis, J. (2015). Toward a Black habitus: African Americans navigating systemic inequalities within home, school and community. The Journal of Negro Education, 84(2), 214-230.  

SELECTED PRESENTATIONS

Lofton, R. (2021).  Perpetuating Inequalities:  The Role of Political Distraction in Education Policy Making. Presented.  Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. 

Lofton, R. (2021).  Dismantling Racialized Tracks:  Possibilities and Limitations of Social Capital.  Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association.

Lofton, R. (2021).  Accepting Responsibility for the Concentrated Debt.  Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association.

Lofton, R. (2020). Accepted. The Impact of Racial Poverty on African American Students. Presenting with Gwendolyn Purifoye. Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. San Francisco, CA.

Lofton, R. (2020). Accepted. The Truth, the Stoop and the Paint: More than a Neighborhood in Disarray. Presenting with Gwendolyn Purifoye. Annual Meeting of the Urban Affairs Association. Washington, D.C.

Lofton, R. (2019). Social Promises of Education: Parents, Schools, and the Geographies of Success. Presented with Gwendolyn Purifoye at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems. New York City, NY.

Lofton, R.  (2019). Learning from the field: Examining the impact of the Student Success Mentors initiative. Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Toronto, Ontario.

Lofton, R.  (2019). Using Multiple Modalities to Detrack Racially Diverse Middle Schools. Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Toronto, Ontario.

Lofton, R.  (2019). Understanding Root Causes of Chronic Absence. EWS ECHO Training, New Mexico Public Education Department.

Lofton, R.  (2018). Students at the Center. Mississippi State Department of Education.

Lofton, R.  (2018). The Importance of Success Mentors. Jackson Public Schools, Jackson, MS.

Lofton, R.  (2018). High School Redesign Network: Teaching and Learning. Invited Lecturer with the Department of Education, New Mexico. Santa Fe.

Lofton, R.  (2018). Learning from the Field: Examining the Impact of the Student Success Mentors Initiative. Department of Education: National Student Attendance, Engagement, and Success Center, Baltimore.

Lofton, R.  (2018). Placing Students at the Center of Redesign Reforms. Invited Lecturer with the Department of Education, New Mexico. Santa Fe.

Lofton, R. (2018). Organizing Adults for Whole School Redesign.  Invited Lecturer with the Department of Education, New Mexico. Santa Fe.

Lofton, R. (2018). Exploring Root Causes of Chronic Absenteeism and Ways to Mitigate the Problem. Department of Education: National Student Attendance, Engagement, and Success Center, Baltimore.

Lofton, R. (2018). The Possibilities and Limitations of Social Capital to Dismantle Racialized Tracks.  Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. New York.

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Johns Hopkins University, School of Education. Qualitative Research Methodology ED.883, 2018,2019.

Teachers College, Columbia University, Department of Human Development

Teacher Assistant, Education and Public Policy HUDF 4000, 2008         

University of Utah, Department of Communication Studies 2001-2003

Teaching Fellow, Interpersonal Communication, Cultural Studies, Speech Communication

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

American Education Research Association (AERA)
American Educational Studies Association (AESA)
Association for the Study of African American Life and History

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES

Johns Hopkins University, School of Education. Qualitative Research Methodology ED.883, 2018,2019.

Teachers College, Columbia University, Department of Human Development

Teacher Assistant, Education and Public Policy HUDF 4000, 2008         

University of Utah, Department of Communication Studies 2001-2003

Teaching Fellow, Interpersonal Communication, Cultural Studies, Speech Communication

MEDIA
  1. Lofton: Nobody Asked Me Campaign: Research Team

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4HZFxfvxvA

 

  1. Lofton: Nobody Asked Me Campaign

2020 Lofton Takes on Race, Place, and Systemic Inequalities:

HTTPS://EDUCATION.JHU.EDU/2020/03/LOFTON-TAKES-ON-RACE-PLACE-AND-SYSTEMIC-INEQUALITIES/

 

  1. Experts Examine the School-to-Prison Pipeline and How to Dismantle It:

HTTPS://HUB.JHU.EDU/2019/10/04/SCHOOLS-PRISONS-POVERTY-SYMPOSIUM/