Condemnation of Blackness: Crime, Numbers and Baltimore

December always brings an accounting. In the last month of the calendar year we sum our various categories of crime and we look for meaning in the numbers. We look to have the numbers speak for themselves. Policymakers, journalists, advocates, and law enforcement will point to the numbers to make their various arguments for what […]

A mortgage lender license is a privilege not a right

Imagine listening to members of Congress making statements like the following: “One look at the current budget will show the large amount of money needed to pay for defaulted loans—about $1.4 billion for just one year alone. The amounts expended over the past 5 years for defaults have risen by 85 percent.” “During the most […]

Bare it and share it

The news that Baltimore City Public School students made a fifth consecutive year of gains on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) is evidence of many things:  that continued progress in public education is possible; that our children can and will succeed given the opportunity; and that we still have a far, far way to go […]

Seizing the momentum

As a reporter in Baltimore for nearly three decades, I know this city is rich in stories. This fall, thanks to a public radio reporting grant from OSI, I have been working on a documentary on an urgent local topic– the scourge of truancy. For generations, the city’s truancy and dropout rate has led the […]

Learn from others

If we took the best ideas from across the world to Maryland, our state would be the best place for children and families in America. But this isn’t happening. For example, Missouri has developed the best model for rehabilitating delinquent youth. Youth are served in small, regional facilities; families are involved from the beginning. Recidivism […]

Keeping children from missing out

My audacious idea: Track and address chronic absence in early elementary school so every child in Baltimore can reach their full potential in school and beyond. Last year, one out of six Baltimore children were chronically absent in kindergarten through third grade– meaning that they missed twenty or more schools days for excused or unexcused […]

Give the public access to facts, not anecdote

The December three-part series in the Baltimore Sun on buprenorphine, the drug approved by the Federal Drug Administration in 2002 for heroin addiction, compromised clarity and balance by burying key facts about the drug’s use and effectiveness and further exaggerated its potential abuse.  Ostensibly motivated by a concern that potential abuse of buprenorphine was not […]

Getting the data on health

The first time I attended a community meeting with Mayor Sheila Dixon, I was intimidated by the set-up: Mayor in front, those of us in her cabinet sitting across on a stage behind her. Like sitting ducks. When the meeting started, my anxiety rose further.  An elderly woman came forward to ask a question.  The […]