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Pioneer Editorial: Obama: Any parents' good advice

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opinion Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
(218) 333-9819 customer support
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Anybody who expected a speech from President Barack Obama on Tuesday morning to indoctrinate the nation's students as soldiers for the blue side were terribly disappointed.

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After much controversy and hype over the issue, President Obama simply did what any good parent does on the first day of school -- study hard, realize how important education is, and good luck.

In the role of First Father (he and his wife have two daughters), the president told students, "What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. The future of America depends on you. What you're learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future."

That coming from the president of the United States should instill words of encouragement and challenge, nothing less than any parent would instill.

"You'll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You'll need the insights and critical-thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You'll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy."

President Obama also credits two important factors in developing students -- their parents and good teachers.

Parents today have a greater responsibility, much more than just seeing to it that their child arrives at the school door each morning. The home must be conducive to learning, something not always possible with single-parent families or with both parents working full-time jobs. Outside influences, such as peer pressures and gangs, also interfere with a learning environment. Parents can help their children through the maze.

And, as the president said, it is teachers' responsibility to inspire and push students to learn. There are high standards set by government to aid teachers to help students tow the mark, and government support for teachers.

But none of that will make a difference unless students themselves fulfill their obligations to show up ready to learn. That's the message President Obama left. If that's an indoctrination to do the best you can to become a fully contributing member of society, so be it.

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