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Pioneer Editorial: Why stop talking to students?

Monday will be celebrated as the last day of summer -- complete with barbecues and enjoying the outdoors on Labor Day.

Starting Tuesday, it's back to work for hundreds of thousands of public secondary and elementary students, including in Bemidji. The start of school isn't always pleasant for some, given it was summer the day before.

We find it refreshing and important that the president of the United States would take the time at 11 on Tuesday morning to use the new tools of 21st century technology to speak to students across the nation, welcoming them back to a new school year and encouraging them to face the challenges ahead and to do the best they can in the classroom, as that's important for the U.S. to compete in the global marketplace.

Thus we find it perplexing and somewhat ignorant that there is opposition to President Barack Obama speaking to the nation's students, claiming he will indoctrinate them into some kind of ill socialistic policy of education.

Politics aside, the man is the president of all of us, and his words should be heard by all of us. And, like most programs on television, one can turn it off. Students should be given an alternative, but claims of the speech being political and may "indoctrinate" are baseless and only serve as more ammunition by the extreme right to sabotage whatever President Obama does.

His route to the presidency and the fact of being the first black elected to that high office is enough reason for students to embrace his remarks as a learning experience as well as a "welcome back" address.

Basically, the president will urge students to take personal responsibility for their own education, to set goals, and to not only stay in school but make the most of it.

Education geared to the 21st century is becoming more and more important to train a new workforce, and the president pointing that out only serves to underscore the importance of that issue. To block the speech on that point is no different that sending our children to school with a piece of chalk and a small blackboard and then walk away. That is ignorant.

To say having the current president address the nation's students is political have forgotten this practice is not new. Republican President George H.W. Bush did the same thing in 1991. To use that reason is only sour grapes at having a Democrat in the White House.