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April 17, 2017

It is with tremendous sadness that we recount the death of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam. Recently in the landmark and far-reaching NYS Court of Appeals decision, MATTER OF BROOKE S.B. v. ELIZABETH A.C.C., Judge Abdus-Salaam expanded the rights of parents: “… in light of more recently delineated legal principles, the definition of “parent” established by this Court 25 years ago in Alison D. has become unworkable when applied to increasingly varied familial relationships. Accordingly, today, we overrule Alison D. and hold that where a partner shows by clear and convincing evidence that the parties agreed to conceive a child and to raise the child together, the non-biological, non-adoptive partner has standing to seek visitation and custody under Domestic Relations Law § 70.” Other family-related news included a Florida school model that supports black and Hispanic students, Hawaiian legislation that would help same-sex couples pay for fertility treatments, research concluding that even one black teacher can make a positive difference for African America students, a personal account of recording memories for your child, legislation in New Mexico that would treat all children equally in the lunchroom, parental thoughts on confronting the empty nest and ideas on how to teach your children the important skill of negotiation.

Why Talented Black and Hispanic Students Can Go Undiscovered Susan Dynarski, The New York Times, April 8, 2017 Public schools are increasingly filled with Black and Hispanic students, but the children identified as “gifted” in those schools are overwhelmingly White and Asian. New evidence indicates that schools have contributed to these disparities by underestimating the potential of Black and Hispanic children. But that can change: When one large school district in Florida altered how it screened children, the number of Black and Hispanic children identified as gifted doubled.

Hawaii LGBT Couples Seek Equal Access to Fertility Treatment Cathy Busewitz, PBS, April 9, 2017 Legislation could require insurance companies to cover in vitro fertilization for more couples, making Hawaii the first state to require the coverage for surrogates, which would help male same-sex couples who must use a surrogate.

Having Just One Black Teacher Can Keep Black Kids In School Anya Kamenetz, NPR, April 10, 2017 Researchers looked at long-term records for more than 100,000 Black elementary school students in North Carolina and they found that having just one Black teacher in third, fourth or fifth grade reduced low-income Black boys’ probability of dropping out of high school by 39 percent. By high school, African-American students, both boys and girls, who had one African-American teacher had much stronger expectations of going to college.

Preserving Memories: In Emails to a Toddler, A Window Into Her Parents’ Love Alina Selyukh, NPR, April 10, 2017 Home with newborn Ava, Annie obsessed over preserving memories. She was going to remember all the little moments, take all the pictures, record all the milestones…The idea, of course, is for Ava to inherit a vault of recollections, a window into this time in her family’s life — “because she probably won’t remember,” says Annie.

Lawmaker’s Childhood Experience Drives New Mexico’s “Lunch Shaming” Ban Erica Ryan, NPR, April 11, 2017 When New Mexico state Sen. Michael Padilla was a child, he says he mopped the cafeteria floors to earn his school lunch, and he befriended the cafeteria workers so he wouldn’t have to go hungry. Inspired by his experience, he introduced Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights Act which requires all students to have access to the same lunch and ends practices like trashing lunches that have been served to students who can’t pay, or making students do chores to work off debt.

The Empty Nest Marriage: Deciding Whether to Stay or Go Susan Bonifant, The Washington Post, April 13, 2017 I’ve been thinking about the parents whose next college drop-off will empty the nest. Some will plan their “us again” vacations and others will confront their loveless marriages and price apartments.

Teaching My Daughter the Art of Negotiation Kristen M. Ploetz, The Washington Post, April 14, 2017 Without any siblings, my hope is that my daughter is learning peer-to-peer negotiation when she plays with other children, and I don’t want to meddle there. But this was different, and I realized she doesn’t really know how to negotiate with people in positions of relative power. After all, she’s 9 and, for the most part, various adults have held the balance of control during her life.

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