Readers: Different viewpoints on pot yield different conversations

On Monday, we asked our readers “What should Colorado schools do to address the issue of legalized marijuana?”

Our question was prompted by a recent investigation from Rocky Mountain PBS I-News that found a major uptick in drug-related incidents at Colorado middle and high schools.

Chalkbeat readers’ opinions were mixed and often appeared to be influenced by their view on marijuana use.

Reader Kathleen Chippi suggested in a comment that marijuana is nothing to worry about. 

Be honest? Cannabis is the safest therapeutic substance known to man and has no known lethal dose. History shows us people have used cannabis for many uses for the last 8,000 plus years.

Educator Jeff Buck countered:

It seems to me that an open and frank conversation about the effects of marijuana (and other abused substances for that matter) on a developing brain would be the logical place to start. … In combination with the current trends in Growth Mindset, Grit, and Mindfulness in schools, we could effectively engage students in thinking and decision making about their futures. Like, do you really want to be a disorganized mess who cannot prioritize the simplest of activities for the rest of your life? Not scared straight tactics but research based scenarios of what they can look forward to if they decide to alter how their brain develops.

Meanwhile, Jeff Deutsch said students need to know the difference between medical marijuana and recreational pot. 

Kids in high school and college already know about recreational marijuana — they get it from their friends. Medical Marijuana is different. Kids need to learn about compassion from an early age. The earlier they learn about the fact that we all are our brother’s keepers, that people in pain need our compassion, the better human beings they will become.

As always, we invite you to join the conversation on our website, Facebook page, or on Twitter.

What's Your Education Story?

We can’t wait for you to hear these Indianapolis teachers’ stories — join us April 19

PHOTO: Ronak Shah

Indianapolis teachers have more stories from their classrooms to share this spring.

Over the past year, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from the teachers, students, and leaders of Indianapolis through our occasional series, What’s Your Education Story? Some of our favorites were told live during teacher story slams hosted by Teachers Lounge Indy.

The stories dealt with how a teacher grappled with coming out to his students, a class that organized to save historic trees in their community, and the unexpected lesson of a mouse in the classroom.

Next month, Chalkbeat is partnering with Teachers Lounge Indy, WFYI Public Media, and the Indianapolis Public Library to host a story slam. The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19, will showcase tales from across Circle City classrooms. It is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Central Library, Clowes Auditorium
40 E. St. Clair St., Indianapolis, IN
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

We're listening

What are the Newark education stories you want to read?

PHOTO: Patrick Wall

This is a historic moment for Newark’s public schools.

After 22 years of state takeover ended last month, the city school board is re-empowered and gearing up to pick a new superintendent. Candidates are lining up to vie for three board seats that will open next month, even as Mayor Ras Baraka — who as a former principal promised to usher in a new era for the city’s schools — runs for reelection in May.

And, just in time to help make sense of it all, Chalkbeat Newark officially launched this week.

I’m Patrick Wall, Chalkbeat Newark’s founding reporter. I hope to spotlight some of the city’s education movers and shakers, track the growth of Newark’s charter sector and the pressure it’s put on the district’s budget, and show what’s happening inside city classrooms. And that’s just this month.

To do all that, I need your help. At Chalkbeat, our readers are the people who shape the local schools and rely on them. They’re also our sources. As we start in Newark, I’m hoping you’ll not only read our coverage but also help steer it, suggesting stories and making sure we reach a wide audience. Here are three ways you can help:

  1. Sign up for the weekly Newark newsletter. In it, I’ll share my reporting and round up the great coverage by other outlets so that you know everything you need to about Newark schools. The first newsletter goes out this Friday.
  2. Tell me what you want to read. Which power brokers or inspiring students do you want to meet? What arcane policies or tangled politics do you want to understand? Which schools or programs do you want to see up close? Please send your questions, ideas, and tips to
  3. Come say “hi.” I’m planning to host regular “office hours” throughout the community to meet readers where they are. The first edition will be at the Springfield Branch library during their college fair from 4 to 7 p.m. on Weds., March 14. (Details here.) Say hello and share your story ideas as you pick up college applications and talk to recruiters.

As Chalkbeat Newark gets up and running, I hope you’ll come along for the ride.