You’re a Socialist…



  • receive Social Security,
  • are on Mediicare,
  • are on Medicaid,
  • went to public school or college,
  • drive on public highways,
  • have your house protected by a fire department,
  • are protected by the police,
  • drink safe water,
  • use a sewer system,
  • use safe medication,
  • eat safe food,
  • use a safe banking system,
  • believe in Christ,
  • etc.

YES, YOU ARE A SOCIALIST.  And, when the President or any other politician accuses anyone of being a Socialist, know that they are attacking you, your parents, your grandparents and your children.



A native of northern Ohio now living in Florida, I am enjoying freshly grown tomatoes now.  I have already eaten this guy’s ripe brother.  This tomato, a Brandywine, is a heritage variety which means it has NOT been hybridized to be picked early, stand up to machine picking, and long storage times.  I grow it because I can remember what a tomato tastes like.  I also know that it’s flavor contributes more than a red color to a salad, a burger or a BLT.

Every time I bite into the Brandywine tomato I am transferred back to the time in which I learned to appreciate the taste of a freshly picked, ripe tomato.

I had lived in northern Ohio where tomatoes were grown for processing and canning.  Baskets of these bright red tomatoes were loaded and stacked five baskets high on trailers hauled by tractors from the fields where they had been picked by hand and driven through town to the canning factory. 

When the first tractor, pulling the first trailer, loaded with those ripe tomatoes entered town, word spread like wildfire through the town’s kids.  Any child tall enough to reach a tomato basket on the trailer headed for Patterson Street where the tractor driver would have to slow to a craw so as to and not lose his load of tomatoes while making the turn headed to Stevenson Street.  

Here the game, a tradition for decades, began.

The object was simple: the children were to grab a tomato to eat; the tractor driver was to make them pay a price two fold.  Unbeknownst to the rookie children in this game, the tractor driver had a basket of rotting tomatoes hidden between his legs on the tractor.  As the children attacked, he threw these tomatoes at them with incredible accuracy.  If you were hit, the rotting tomato would smush all over you and your clothes. If he missed, you’d grab your tomato, retreat to the shade of a tree and devour its deliciousness.  The proper technique was to gently pierce the skin with your teeth and suck the juice out of it.  In that way you could enjoy the fruits of your victory without leaving telltale tomato juice on your clothes.

Remember that I said the tractor driver would make them pay two fold?  Yes, if you got hit it would be embarrassing, but it also would be very messy.  You would be literally be covered in smushed tomato and tomato juice.  And your parents would notice and demand an explanation of how this happened.  I have never heard of a satisfactory explanation that would be accepted.  I have heard “the tomato fell on me from the trailer, I fell on the tomatoe, I was carrying groceries for a little old lady and the tomatoes mushed”.  And yet, I cannot remember a single incidence of a child being punished for this pilfering tomatoes.  I have heard of them being punished for lying about how they got covered in tomato juice, but not for participating in what had become a tradition.

In today’s world, there would be police, investigations into whether the child stole the tomato, investigations into whether the tractor driver had committed a crime by throwing a rotting tomato at a child, investigations into whether the canning company and/or the farmer was liable for the stained clothes.  There would be crime scene tape around the tractor and the tomato laden trailer.  There would be media coverage including interviews with anyone who needed their time in the spotlight.  There would be police chiefs, mayors, governors, state and federal legislators from both parties, religious leaders, non religious leaders, shopkeepers, psychologists and neighbors. While all this is going on, the tomatoes would rot in the sun.  And, no one would have the taste of a real tomato to remember.


So, here I sit under the shade of a palm tree with my bright red heritage tomato in my hand, the juice sucked out, preparing to take a delicious bite having my heritage thoughts.

The “Curriculum



If you are lucky the curriculum will be written to include behavioral objectives.  If not, rewriting them in forms of behavioral objectives including means of measuring accomplishment is the first step.  The following is only one way this can be set up.  It identifies the objective, provides individualization, collaboration, measures progress towards completion and final completion.

Each student has an index card (or on a spread sheet) upon which they are checked for each behavioral objective.  I prefer the index card as they may be given the card, but if your school has or allows smart phones or ipads they would work too:

(Date,    John Doe,   Objective,    Activity,     %Completed,    Completed,    Comments).

I prefer using index cards and then entering completion in the grade book if required. 

Eighth grade and above I give the students a list of all the objectives and allow them to choose the order of addressing them.  I discuss and help them decide how they will demonstrate completion or proficiency.  In addition I recommend they form a group who will be working on the same objective.  I paper clip the index cards together for those working in a group together.  During the class period I circulate among the individual students and groups providing guidance in achieving the objective so that I can evaluate percentage of completion or those completed. I explain that it is not a competition 

If the school district requires a letter grade on the report card, we as a class decide how many objectives completed will translate to an “A”, “B”, “C” or “D”.  There is no “F”.  Some districts have a mandatory curriculum calendar so that if a student moves from one school to another he or she will be in the same place in the curriculum no matter which school they are attending.   They then use standardized tests based on that calendar.  If you find yourself in one of these districts you will pretty much need to disregard individualized instruction, collaboration, and measurement based on progress.  If you are a seasoned experienced teacher, you might be able to use this method and then teach to the district test.

Sometimes you need to identify a district mandate as asinine and work around it.  In one district the administrators went to a conference and heard about the use of “word walls” to teach vocabulary.  They then mandated their use district wide k through 12.  In this system there were ten words posted on the classroom wall per week and each day prescribed lessons were to be used to teach them.  These lessons were to be identified in the teacher’s lesson plans.  Money was spent to purchase nylon cloth “flags” with pockets where the words for the week were displayed.  Part of the teachers evaluation would be on the appearance of word walls in their lesson plans and use of the flags in their classrooms.

A good system for elementary grades, maybe.  A high school economics teacher pointed out that it would hardly work with his classes where there could be twenty new terms a week and there would not be enough time to implement this system and cover the curriculum.  He was told there would be no exceptions.  He put up his expensive nylon flag with each of ten of his vocabulary words in their slot.  He left those same words up until he was observed.  He taught those words as part of the lesson as directed.  After the observation he displayed ten new words in their pockets on the brightly colored nylon flag till his next observation.  Sometimes it is necessary to bend the rules in order to teach.  Unfortunately that’s the way it is, and you will need to choose between teaching and doing what the administration dictates.