This week was one of those weeks that make me roll my eyes when people say “teachers have their summers off”; 15 hour days, lots of tasks and demands, and some really early mornings.  Of course, I do this to myself and the things I do give me joy.   So I am not really whining; I just run down.

Our We the People Demonstration night last Thursday was terrific.  A couple hundred people showed up.  Big thanks to high school sponsors Liz Paternoster and Janet Chandler for supporting my junior high program; Todd Zimmerman and Cecilia Coble from the City of Fishers; Bob Leming–the National Director of We the People judged; my friends Larry Lannon of Larry in Fishers, Kevin Stumpf and Geoff Tease; plus so many We the People students.  It was a great night.

Ally gave me a task to help with a project for her US History class…a chance to rank the Presidents.  Her teacher wants her to rank the top 18 presidents.  This should be easy for most people, but I spent 4 hours making my list.  Below is my list:

  1. Lincoln                                       GREATS
  2. Washington
  3. Theodore Roosevelt               NEAR GREATS
  4. Dwight Eisenhower
  5. Harry Truman
  6. James Polk
  7. Thomas Jefferson                   HIGH AVERAGE
  8. James Madison
  9. FDR
  10. John Kennedy
  11. Grover Cleveland
  12. Lyndon Johnson
  13. James Monroe
  14. William Taft
  15. William McKinley
  16. Calvin Coolidge                      AVERAGE
  17. Chester Arthur
  18. James Garfield
  19. John Adams
  20. Andrew Jackson
  21. George H.W. Bush
  22. Bill Clinton

The two presidents that caused me the most thoughtful review were Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan.  Philosophically they each offered so much, but in the execution both created long term harm.  The part of the exercise was learning more about James Polk.  I am not a big fan of Andrew Jackson over his treatment of Native Americans and his near destruction of the American economy.  FDR falls lower than some rankings over the Japanese Internment and the Court Packing scheme.

This week is about the Tang Dynasty Poetry project.  One of my favorites.