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Teaching 9/11

What should children be taught about Sept. 11? As the school year begins, teachers are wondering whether to emphasize US values and history, or an understanding of the causes for the terrorist attacks.

Some schools may, reasonably, opt to stick to regular subjects, with just a ceremony to mark 9/11. But for schools using current events to teach analytical thinking, it's best to look at the whole picture. And that includes the US role in the Middle East, how freedom makes America great and an object of envy, problems in Arab nations, and Islam's peaceful aspects.

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This can be touchy territory. Some of the deeper implications, such as the nature of evil, can be more effectively dealt with at home or in places of worship.

Certainly students should be taught how their country is dealing with such a momentous event, how American ideals will endure, and how they as individuals have a part in that future. Teaching that America somehow had it coming in being attacked is the wrong lesson.

One of the better results of teaching about 9/11 will be a new generation with a deeper appreciation of their country and its role in the world.


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