Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lucien at his best

I'm so proud of my son Lucien I don't know how to describe it. He's 13 years old now and that's brought a few issues, as parents of teens have warned me. But today he finished third among 100 or so public middle school kids in the latest New Orleans citywide debate tournament, and he's feeling on top of the world.

It's a lot of hard work and prep for the students, and great entertainment for the audience  to hear the kids go at it on existential questions like these:
  • "John Cage's 4'33: Is it music?"
  • "Graffiti is art, not vandalism."
  • "Mardi Gras is a waste of time and resources."
  • "Wal-Mart is good for America."
I love it that a fair number of seventh and eighth graders in our city are thinking and arguing about John Cage. So here's another proposition for the table: "Public education in New Orleans is making great strides since Katrina." Do you think? 


  1. On your question for the table: it's making some strides for only a few. The "system of schools" in place favors the parents who hustle and hurdle the obstacle courses placed before them to get their children into a better academic environment without having to pay an arm and a leg...and even then, there's only so much room that the best public schools have, so parents who do everything have to pray that they get a high position on a waiting list. The ones trying to play catch-up have many odds stacked against them: they must try to get their students to get their scores up on standardized tests just for their very school's survival, forget how the kids are effectively learning. Most teachers I know are getting very burned out by the environments that exist in NO public ed these days. There's not much of a plan other than decentralization of the public schools and a passing of the buck of responsibility for the schools from one central organization to the schools themselves, and it leaves the teachers and the parents with less security.

    I could go on and on, but mazel tov to your young'un!

  2. Thanks, Leigh, good comments and all very true. I'm one of the lucky parents -- persistent too, I guess -- to have run the maze and found a great school for my two boys. But how to make every school great? Don't you wish we could figure that one out and make it happen? (This debate series has drawn about 12 schools so far, charter and RSD. The private schools were invited -- won't name any names here -- but opted out. Couldn't get their act together!)Arthur

  3. Congratulations Lucien - and great photo!

  4. Thanks, Kate. Will pass that along to Lucien. Photo was taken last fall (no camera yesterday; didn't want to spook the kids). A.

  5. ah. how wonderful and blessed you are to have two young boys! reading your post brought me back to a time when my two sons were Lucien's age. contrary to what most parents of teenagers will tell you.. i wouldn't have traded those years for anything. keep them close to your heart and i promise you they will turn out to be fine young men. so far, you're off to a fantastic start. :) congratulations Lucien!

    happy sunday!
    Elizabeth Termmotigida

  6. Awesome men raise awesome boys. :)

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, dawlin.

  7. And to you and all of yours, the same, sugah-pie!