Education level is one of the best predictors of quality of life around the world. Education level is tied to health, income, crime, and global equality. Globally, 85 percent of primary-school-age children attend school, not far from the goal of universal primary education. The most work remains in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 18 of the 20 countries with the highest share of children out of school are located. Still, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) estimates that this goal can be reached by 2015, an optimistic and encouraging assessment.

In this issue, we’ve taken a look at teaching and learning in several of its different forms. We start with Suzanne Farrell’s piece exploring the difficulty teachers face in keeping children politically correct, called The Indian in the classroom. We hear about Colette Coleman’s experiences as a teacher in urban Los Angeles and at an international school in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in From the inner city to Indonesia. In Teenage bohemia, Kaitlin Bell visits with the families of several New York children who are homeschooled in the fashion of the burgeoning unschooled movement.

As Kaitlin’s piece touches on, there are many teachers and learning experiences that exist outside the traditional educational system. In Approaching autism, Jennifer Leahy introduces us to Cain, a golden retriever who works as a service dog for three boys with autism, teaching them what he knows about keeping calm in the face of a confusing world. Kimberlee Soo tells us the story of a woman who learns something unexpected on the el in Beakman. Finally, we meet Paola, a displaced Colombian woman who teaches an outsider about her adoptive home of Máncora, Peru, in Amy Smart’s piece Displacement.

While every student needs a teacher, the opposite is true as well. It is up to each of us to ensure that we are ready to learn, attuned to those around us who may instruct us in the ways of this world.

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I am a writer/editor turned web developer. I’ve served as both Editor-in-chief and Technical Developer of In The Fray Magazine over the past 5 years. I am gainfully employed, writing, editing and developing on the web for a small private college in Duluth, MN. I enjoy both silence and heavy metal, John Milton and Stephen King, sunrise and sunset. Like all of us, I contain multitudes.

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