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Teacher's pet, abandoning principals, dropouts in China

Teacher's pet

At Reagan Elementary in Brownsburg, Ind., teacher Chris Chadd and her class of fourth- and fifth-graders are training a four-month-old goldendoodle to be a therapy dog, Josh Duke reports for the Indianapolis Star. "Laney is at school every day and even has her own corner in the classroom, including a crate and water bowl. Students split up duties, including training and caring for her. 'She is a working dog, and the kids know that,' Ms. Chadd said. 'Laney already seeks out the kids that need her the most and helps them maintain their attention and provide comfort in a way a person can't in a school setting. She even helps some of the teachers here who come by before or after school for a stress reliever.' " In her class, Laney has become like an assistant teacher. "Victoria Schultz, 11, has benefited from Laney. While working on homework one afternoon, she became weary and [uninterested] Almost on cue, Laney walked over and sat down next to her."

Abandoning principals

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"A school without a principal?" Stacy Teicher Khadaroo writes for The Christian Science Monitor. "It's becoming more common as innovative teacher-led public schools crop up in the United States. … The idea has gained currency as debates rage over the best ways to ensure that teachers can bring up student achievement - with everyone from President Obama to district leaders calling for teachers to meet high standards or risk being removed. In response, more teachers are standing up to say: 'Fine. Hold us accountable. But let us do it our way.' "

Don't need no education?

- "The public pays a high price for education," says an editorial in The Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette. "It pays an even higher price for lack of an education. Many criminals dropped out before taking up their careers. This is not to say that playing hooky or dropping out necessarily leads to a life of crime. But not getting an education definitely increases the odds. Two years ago, a report from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a non-profit anti-crime organization, showed that dropouts are 3.5 times as likely to be arrested as high-school graduates are."

- "The word 'truant' might bring to mind a teenager with a spray can," Katy Murphy writes for The Oakland Tribune. "But younger children miss school each year, too, with alarming regularity. If a bill clears the [California]state legislature … parents could face jail time and a hefty fine. … Senate Bill 1317 would make truancy a misdemeanour, at least for the more serious offenders - those whose children have missed 10 per cent of the school year. Other states, such as Florida and Texas, have similar laws on the books."

Dropouts in China

"Teachers in rural China face major challenges in keeping students in the classroom, with many teenagers now choosing to quit school to live as migrant workers," China Daily reports. "Although poverty used to be the main reason for dropping out, some teachers say children as young as 13 years old are abandoning their studies to chase their dreams of big money in the cities."

Carpe diem

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How does a fish spend its day? It often goes to school. Young people shouldn't scoff. Fish can learn and show off a variety of skills, according to research. Pupils' own classmates and fish may have a few things in common, including:

- Perpetually vacant expressions.

- Can be trained to come when summoned.

- Can count up to four and learn colours.

- Will play games and "eavesdrop" on others.

- In some ways, may be as intelligent as rats.

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Sources: The Sunday Mirror, Daily Mail, Connecticut Post, The Hindu

What is a teacher?

"The word 'teacher' does not do justice to the profession," Koh Soo Ling, a 27-year-veteran of the field, writes for The New Sunday Times (Malaysia). "A teacher is also the nurse, psychologist, social worker, counsellor, secretary, odd-job worker and photostating-machine mechanic."

Thought du jour

"A mechanic is driven by his work all day, but it ends at night; it has an end. But the scholar's work has none."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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