Up for Debate

Relying on suspending or excluding students doesn’t get to the root of behavior problems or make them more interested in school. But a new video, Up for Debate, shows how the Baltimore Urban Debate League has helped students become motivated learners. Watch the video.

Succeeding in Baltimore for fifteen years

For the last fifteen years we’ve helped launch programs, some that have floundered and many that have flourished. Given the urgency of the issues we address, we’re very willing to take on risk and, with our partners, try new approaches. We’re here to test what’s possible and create new pathways to opportunity and justice. Fifteen years is a blip in time for our undertaking. We’re in it for the long haul—because, sometimes, it’s not until years later that the change for which we advocate is proven as the right road taken.

A six-hour school day just isn’t enough

Imagine if the 3 PM school dismissal bell wasn’t a call for mass exodus. Imagine if students remained in school well into the evening—not for an afterschool program or detention—but as part of an engaging, integrated day of math, African dance, science, photography, English, civic leadership, and even Brazilian martial arts.

Expand learning opportunities for Baltimore’s students

I never had illusions of becoming a rocket scientist, but as a child I loved classroom experiments that brought topics in science alive. What happened to two lima beans, planted separately, one placed in a dark closet and one on the windowsill? Or why does mixing baking soda and vinegar form that science fair staple, […]

Corporate law for the people

My audacious idea is for citizens to make corporate law work for them. Corporations have long wielded power to the detriment of the people. What if individuals used corporate law to organize, make their communities better places to live, and hold for-profit corporations responsible for their detrimental effects on their neighborhoods? Instead of a McDonald’s […]

Chicken Masala with a side of mentoring

In Maryland more than 207,000 children are at risk for hunger. The same number of young people are unsupervised during the after-school hours. The child who goes home to an empty house is likely to be the same child who may not have access to food between the end of the school day and the […]

Biking to school

We all know that getting around without a car in Baltimore can be a frustrating experience. It’s especially difficult for many students, who rely on an often-late bus system to get to school. This problem is exacerbated by the occasional actions of a few students, who have tainted the image of students riding public transit, […]

Positive youth development

Baltimore’s dropout rates and youth violence get their fair share of publicity. Blame has been placed everywhere – school structure, gangs, drug culture, family situations. What’s been lost in these conversations is a strong conviction of youth as individuals who need caring relationships with adults, nurturing environments, and stimulating activities in order to develop into […]

On the responsibilities of universities

Baltimore City public schools are underperforming. The Baltimore City Data Collaborative showed that between 2006-2007, just over 44% of 8th graders were proficient in state reading assessments, and just 24.4% were proficient in math. We know that while high-school graduation rates have improved from over six years ago, still nearly 9.6% of our 9th-12th graders […]