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A day to teach

You could feel the energy before you walked through the door of any local school Tuesday. The pulse - the student body - is back.

The 2009-10 school year holds as much promise as any other. More, some might say, given that it begins with controversy and a great "teaching moment."

Because some districts chose not to air President Obama's speech live Tuesday, the public became engaged early and with zeal. Look at today's letters and commentary if you have any doubt.

This is a terrific opportunity for parents and teachers.

We buy into why many Minnesota school districts taped the speech rather than airing it live: Tuesday was the first day of school; the speech fell during the lunch hour; the speech fell across class periods.

They follow fairly understandable, standard reasoning.

Reasons and reasoning are at the heart of this discussion. Some citizens, particularly those who didn't vote for Obama, argued against airing the speech they said might indoctrinate children. (As if kids couldn't watch the speech on the Internet.)

A good education goes far beyond the standard three "Rs" and the current debate illustrates why. Add in free speech, that American fundamental, and you're set for a meaty civics lesson that works in the classroom as well as at the supper table. Dig in, America.

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