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. Lofton has been funded by the Spencer Foundation, Gates Foundation, Education Innovation and Research Grant, American Sociological Association, National Science Foundation, Arnold Foundation, Baltimore Community Foundation, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He received an early career award at Johns Hopkins University with the Catalyst Grant and is Co-PI of two Johns Hopkins University Discovery Grants.
Lofton’s research positions Black students, parents, teachers, and community members not as the problem but as an integral part of the solution to equity, justice, and humanizing their lived experiences. Lofton is the Principal Investigator of the Nobody Asked Me Campaign. Through this research campaign, 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 180 African American students and their parents in Baltimore as they relate to education, violence, transportation, housing, and school infrastructure. More recently, this team has been building on these findings by asking teachers, school administrators, counselors, and school district leaders how to improve school climate by enriching students’ and school personnel’s schooling experiences. For Lofton and his team, more research is needed that asks the essential players in the schooling process what are their educational desires, how to implement these changes successfully, and how to collectively work to provide students quality of life and educational experiences for the 21st Century. As a result, the Nobody Asked Me Campaign aims to co-produce policies, strategies, and practices along with Black parents, students, school personnel, and community members to promote equity and justice in educational resources, opportunities, and experiences.
Keywords: Black students and their parents; healthy and safe schools; structural violence; chronic absenteeism, social constructs of race, racism, and spatial legitimacy of schools and neighborhoods; concentrated poverty; transformative justice and equity.