A Lesson on Zero-Tolerance

When we punish students by kicking them out of school for nonviolent infractions, we’ve lost the opportunity to instruct them. But when discipline practices change, students’ outcomes change—for the better.

A common-sense approach to school discipline

We actually did it. After the debates, public hearings and letter-writing campaigns, advocates for school disciplinary reform heard a decision from the Maryland State Board of Education that was three years in the making. The Board decided to eliminate zero tolerance policies and enact a common-sense approach to school discipline.

Baltimore kids are solving a national problem

There are more than 600 kids in Baltimore this summer who are proving there’s a sustainable way to solve a national problem—reducing the educational disparities between rich and poor children.

Showing up is half the battle!

My embracing of the notion that showing up is half the battle results from my own childhood battles with absenteeism. Like many Baltimore students, school attendance was a challenge for me; I became a habitual truant and dropped out. After a year out of school, a series of personal struggles helped me realize that a better life was only possible through education.

This isn’t your father’s unemployment line

Job seeking ain’t what it used to be. First, you apply for unemployment compensation on a state agency website. You don’t have to talk to a person unless denied. Then, once registered, one is instructed to keep records of job-search activities because someone from the unemployment office could check on them at any time. This is where it gets complicated.

Taking a hard look at child support enforcement

Child support plays an invaluable role in the quality of a child’s life and their trajectory toward a healthy and positive future. However, non-custodial parents with criminal records often find themselves unable to meet child support obligations due to an inability to secure stable employment.

Making school attendance a community priority

Baltimore is making progress in our schools with the help of new investment and much-needed reforms. We know, however, that our efforts to improve facilities and teacher performance can only be successful if every student is present and ready to learn.

Maryland DREAMERS give me hope

“So happy all my friends get to go to college!” This is what my daughter, a sophomore at Trinity College, texted me when it became clear, late on election night, that 58 percent of voters had approved the Maryland DREAM Act, which will help thousands of undocumented students access higher education in the state over the next several years. A rush of tears came to my eyes, surprising me. It was a mixture of parental pride, patriotism, and hope.

Real health care equity

Women of all colors have historically faced discriminatory practices by health insurers and racial and ethnic minorities have suffered disproportionately from health disparities.

Make addiction treatment accessible

The White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy last year came out with the report Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis. Its four central recommendations focused on education, tracking and monitoring, proper medication disposal, and enforcement. This is another glaring example of our 100 years of failed drug policy. Supply reduction has not worked and will not work. If this new “crisis” is truly an epidemic, then there should be a health response to it.