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May 8, 2017

This week’s family-related news included a deep dive into helping teachers understand and support their most challenging students, facts about “lunch shaming”, the wide spread use of ‘Advanced Placement’ testing without knowledge that it is academically beneficial, the prevalence of child on child sexual abuse, concerns about the Netflix series “13 Reasons” about teen suicide, a new way to look at gender, a touching conversation between two people who lost their spouses, definitive findings that Pre-k helps students succeed in kindergarten, the life long benefits to society of being physically active when young, a clarion call to parents to be mindful of their own addiction to technology as they set examples for their children and finally a beautiful coming of age story of a mother’s closeness to her daughter, as they navigate hairstyles.

A Mindset Shift to Continue Supporting the Most Frustrating Kids Alex Shevrin, KQED, April 24, 2017 “Challenging students aren’t that way because they are inherently bad kids or intentionally creating difficulties in the classroom. To borrow a phrase from Ross Greene, “kids do well if they can,” and if they aren’t doing well, it’s because there’s something getting in the way. When I step back and consider the obstacles in my students’ lives — poverty, trauma, chronic stress — it makes total sense that they are struggling to communicate, regulate their emotions and make progress on learning.”

Shaming Children So Parents Will Pay the School Lunch Bill Bettina Elias Siegel, The New York Times, April 30, 2017 Holding children publicly accountable for unpaid school lunch bills — by throwing away their food, providing a less desirable alternative lunch or branding them with markers — is often referred to as “lunch shaming.” The practice is widespread — a 2014 report from the Department of Agriculture found that nearly half of all districts used some form of shaming to compel parents to pay bills. (About 45 percent withheld the hot meal and gave a cold sandwich, while 3 percent denied food entirely.)”

4 Things We Don’t Know About AP Tests Anya Kamenetz, NPR, May 1, 2017 Nearly 3 million high school students at 22,000 high schools will be sitting down to take their Advanced Placement exams this year. Yet… “remarkably little independent research has been conducted on the academic benefits of AP.” That’s according to Russell T. Warne, an assistant professor of psychology at Utah Valley University.”

Student on Student Sexual Assault is More Common than We Thought Interview, PBS Newshour, May 1, 2017 AP Reporters found that students were seven times more likely than adults to sexually assault another student. During a four-year period, the AP tallied at least 17,000 cases around the country. These included many cases that were treated as bullying or hazing instead…There’s no federal requirement that says schools have to track student-on-student sex assault, even though for a long time schools have been tracking things like free and reduced lunch, guns, drugs on school property.”

For Families of Teens at Suicide Risk, ‘13 Reasons’ Raises Concerns Catherine Saint Louis, The New York Times, May 1, 2017 In the month since the show’s release, a rising chorus of mental health experts contend that too many of the show’s messages on suicide are inaccurate and potentially dangerous. Superintendents and school counselors around the country have issued warnings to parents that “13 Reasons Why” glorifies suicide and could lead to an increase in copycat behavior and self-harm among vulnerable students.

A New Generation Overthrows Gender Jon Brooks, NPR, May 2, 2017 A January 2015 general population survey of 1,000 people age 18-34, conducted for Fusion media, found that just 46 percent agreed that “there are only two genders, male and female.” Fifty percent, meanwhile, said “gender is a spectrum, and some people fall outside conventional categories.” And another recent survey suggests the same trend. “I think we’re seeing a new gender revolution,” says clinical psychologist Diane Ehrensaft. “It’s erased boxes and created gender infinity instead.”

After Losing a Spouse, Finding a Different Kind of Happiness Connor Donevan, NPR, May 2, 2017 K.T.N.’s husband died late last year, two days before their fifth wedding anniversary. L.T. was widowed in 2011, when his wife Amanda died suddenly. He’s now remarried. The following is a candid conversation regarding their life changing events and going on.

Pre-K: Decades Worth of Studies, One Strong Message Claudio Sanchez, NPR, May 3, 2017 “Kids who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than kids who don’t.” The findings come in a report “The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects,” and the authors include big names from the early childhood world: Deborah Phillips of Georgetown University, Mark W. Lipsey of Vanderbilt, Kenneth Dodge of Duke, Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution and others.

Child’s Play Is Good for All of Us Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times, May 3, 2017 According to the computer model, the costs of today’s 8- to 11-year-olds being inactive and consequently overweight would be almost $3 trillion in medical expenses and lost productivity every year once the children reached adulthood and for decades until their deaths.

Tending My Daughter’s Crown Denene Millner, The New York Times, May 5, 2017 Such was the bond between my daughters and me; it was carved into intricate lines that framed their cornrows, intertwined in the twists that flew with the wind. For the longest time, right there on their scalps was evidence of my love, measured in the complexity of the style and the time it took to tend to the kinky, curly garden atop my baby girls’ heads and the pleasure I took in doing it.

Dad, Phone Down! Mom, Stop Texting! Many Parents Set Bad Examples For Teen Drivers Dr. Gene Beresin, WBUR, May 5, 2017 We’re all hostages of the digital age. We’re all guilty of the irresistible impulse to reach for the phone — to check directions, to look at the newest text, to see who is calling — and sometimes to pick up the phone and talk. The article includes some tips for helping all of us drive more responsibly.

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