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Originally published Thursday, September 3, 2009 at 12:18 AM

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Obama school-speech plan assailed

President Obama's plan to address the nation's students Tuesday has polarized some over whether it's OK for their children to listen to the speech.

DENVER — President Obama's plan to address the nation's students Tuesday has polarized some over whether it's OK for their children to listen to the speech.

White House officials said earlier that the speech — which will broadcast on C-SPAN and educational stations and webcast — would focus on "the importance of education, the importance of staying in school, how we want to improve our education system and why it's so important for the country."

Other presidents, including George H.W. Bush, have given similar speeches directly to students.

Jim Greer, chairman of the Florida Republican Party, said the speech would use taxpayer dollars "to spread President Obama's socialist ideology."

White House officials said Obama hopes his speech will inspire students and encourage them to set academic goals. "It's not a policy speech," said White House spokesman Tommy Vietor. "It's a speech designed to encourage kids to stay in school, which I think is a nonpartisan goal."

Schools districts across the country have the option to choose if they show the president's address, which he's giving at noon EDT (9 a.m. PDT) at a Virginia high school.

The speech has ignited partisan passions among conservative groups, which accused him of injecting politics in the classroom.

Neal McCluskey, associate director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the conservative Cato Institute, said the lesson plans accompanying the speech are "troubling." "Reasonable people can disagree" about Obama's policies, he said. "But they don't want their kids to be indoctrinated. This is potentially a tool of indoctrination."

Fred Moses, chairman of the Collin County Republican Party, said he had not heard anyone who was concerned about the speech.

"As long as the president is not talking about his agenda or policies, we all need to encourage our kids to do better," Moses said.

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