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NEA 9/11 Lesson Plan Draws Critics

Students headed back to school will get one of the biggest history lessons of their lives on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, but many parents are wondering which interpretation of events their children are going to get.

The National Education Association is compiling ideas for ways to teach Sept. 11 and some of them are coming under fire.

The program is called "Remember Sept. 11" and the classroom lessons are available to millions of teachers. It's even accessible on the Web. In the program, the NEA suggests kids think about tolerance and diversity and not blame all Arabs for the actions of a few.

"We have over 100 linked sites that I'm hoping will have lots and lots and lots of diverse opinions because public schools should be about teaching kids to analyze to think, to be critical thinkers, to not believe everything they read or everything they hear on the radio or TV," said Jerald Newberry of the National Education Association.

But critics of the teachers union say some of the lesson plans place the blame on America, and suggest diversity and tolerance will overcome terrorism.

"They're putting it out there and it's got their political spin all over it. The sentiment is what is wrong with America, and that's what I object to," said Jan La Rue of Concerned Women of America.

Among the messages on the Web site is advice from the Red Cross: "You will not be effective if you purposely or inadvertently take one side over another."

Another snippet: "Model respect for and tolerance of all the views and feelings that your students share."

One plan previously on the site suggested that the teachers discuss "historical instances of American intolerance" and cites the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II as an example.

After many objections, the NEA said it removed that link, but there are dozens of other lesson plans available to teachers.

The NEA said teachers will ultimately decide how to teach their students about Sept. 11. They say their Web site is only a clearinghouse for the lessons and they are not actually being written by the union. They say it will be up to the teachers to decide what lessons are best.

Fox News' Heather Nauert contributed to this report.

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