My wife signed our 11-year-old boy up for a week-long class in argumentation — sort of a moot court thing, I think — at UC Irvine.


The cost: $400.

He spends most of his life arguing anyway, mostly with Mom, the most recent argument being about whether he should have to waste a week of his summer vacation taking this class.

“Honey,” I say, “couldn’t you just argue with him for a week and save us the $400?”

The boy mentions a friend of his and says, “He took this class last year and he said he spent most of the time goofing off.”

“Well, in education,” I say, “like a lot of other things, you get out of it what you put into it.”

“This isn’t education,” he says, “it’s torture! It’s a concentration camp! It’s Auschwitz! . . .”

It makes you wonder what kind of person volunteers to teach argumentation to 11-year-olds.

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