Category Voices

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 Assistant Professor, Principal Investigator, “Nobody Asked Me”

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