Policy Priorities

Policy Priorities image of kids

Early Childhood Care and Education

Educate Children and Young People for Success

Investments in early childhood are vital to success of our nation's youth.  CDF-Ohio creates and coordinates projects that build community support for individual children and youth to achieve in school,, contribute to their communities, and successfully enter the work force.  

Priorities include:

  • Work in Appalachia to lift up the children of this impoverished region, to connect them to better early childhood education and other basic services.
  • Support the number of CDF Freedom Schools - a program that provides demonstrated success in summer and after-school enrichment for underserved students.
  • Expand CDF-Ohio's Beat the Odds Scholarship Program - a program that honors outstanding high school students who have overcome tremendous adversity, demonstrated academic excellence, and given back to their communities.

End Unfair and Harmful School Discipline Policies

CDF-Ohio is increasing awareness about harmful school discipline policies and is working on ways to maintain school environments that ensure school safety and support every student's opportunity to learn and succeed.

Priorities include:

  • Build a statewide campaign around harmful school discipline policies to:
    • Pilot alternative school discipline practices in urban school districts;
    • and change the Ohio Revised Code to remove zero-tolerance language which results in suspending and expelling students for non-violent disobedient behavior who should receive appropriate discipline and stay in school.
  • Through our seat on the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI), engage local law enforcement, urban school district administrators, and juvenile court judges in Franklin, Summit, Lucas, Montgomery, and Cuyahoga counties, to work together to create appropriate and coordinate discipline procedures.
  • Gather, analyze, and dissesminate Ohio school discipline data to allow focus where the problems are, help make changes where needed in schools, and share best practices throughout the state.


Out-of-school suspensions and expulsions—discipline practices that exclude children from school—have increased dramatically in the United States since the 1970s. This increase is largely due to schools’ overreliance on “zero tolerance” policies.  Pushing students out of school does not assess the student’s underlying behavior or reach a long term solution.  The Zero Tolerance and Exclusionary School Discipline Policies Harm Students and Contribute to the Cradle to Prison Pipeline® issue brief outlines the problem of zero tolerance policies, including the disparate Impact on disabled, economically disadvantaged, and minority children and offers recommendations for policy change in Ohio.