Porsche Macan SUV: A Practical Family Sports Car
by The Car Family

Unless you drive a Porsche Macan S you may never understand what all the buzz is about. Here is an SUV that handles, accelerator, and stops as well as a sports car. but can carry five adults, tow a trailer, and be equipped with a top rack. To say this vehicle is a wonder is an understatement. Consumer Reports and US News and World Report both selected it as the best vehicle in its category. So what is it that makes this vehicle so desirable that it is sold out in some countries for nearly a year and there is probably a waiting list at your local dealer for one built to your liking? Well, it is registers on the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains. It is playful, practical, fast, and, yes, expensive. The Macan starts at around $51,000, but don’t expect to leave the dealership without another ten thousand dollars in options. porsideleaf

Mom’s view: This is the best vehicle we have ever tested regardless of price. Its easy to park, zips through traffic and its performance during freeway driving can only be described as amazing. From a practical standpoint it is difficult to justify such an expensive daily driver. That is until you drive one. At that point it is challenging not to rationalize why you don’t need one. Ladies, this is an agile, engaging SUV with a surprising cushy ride and the interior is stunning. With optional heated and cooled seats, quality interior materials, and ample storage this is definitely going to be your home away from home. Standard safety features and options include an all wheel drive system, airbags everywhere, tire pressure monitor, remote key, ABS, stability and traction control, blind spot monitor, and lane departure warning among others. Fit and finish are splendid. There is a small indentation on the exterior door handle that, when pushed, locks the doors and swivels the side mirrors inward if you desire. I could go on forever, but this is the SUV I would choose for a trip, to shop, or drop the brood of at school. If I get lost the GPS map can show on the central monitor and the instrument panel. Ladies, you can have it all.


Dad’s view: First, it is a hoot to drive. Quiet, unassuming, and comforting, the Macan is just your mild mannered Clark Kent. That is until you press the “sport” button. The result is supercar. This 4300 pound SUV changes its character. The exhaust sound is deepened and the acceleration sharpened as the 340 horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 engine makes it fly. Porsche’s PDK 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission shifts immediately and the all wheel drive system sends power to where it is needed. It takes a super human effort not to have the sports mode on all the time. Nevertheless, there are some drawbacks. Tall people will find a lack of rear headroom and the electronics aren’t as world class as one would expect. Readers with a passion for driving, love the outdoors, enjoy unplanned trips, this is your feisty, family friendly SUV.


Young unemployed male’s view: Being unemployed puts this car into the realm of unattainable. So much for that expensive degree and Microsoft training certification. Back to business. The 2016 Macan comes with an 11-speaker stereo with a 7-inch touch-screen display, Bluetooth, a USB port, and fairly good quality sound. You can opt for a 14-speaker Bose sound, a 16-speaker Burmester system, a PCM infotainment system, and Porsche Car Connect. The latter is interesting as it enables you to find your Macan using your smartphone. I can’t comment on the upgraded $1400 Bose or the$5700 Burmester with its 1000 watt units, but I found the base unit adequate. The Macan’s stunning sport steering wheel is from the 918 Spyder. Interestingly, the tachometer is positioned in the center of the dash where one would expect to see the speedometer. Along side that unit is a 4.8-inch color screen that displays messages from the on-board computer and, if needed, a GPS map. The main monitor is a 7-inch touchscreen. Now if I can just find work.


Young woman’s view: The tailgate is devoid of a handle. The opener is located under the wiper stalk. One press and it opens to any height you desire. Low garage, just a quick click on the lowering button and it is set. So very nice. In fact, if you enjoy driving, are a poser, or just want to see what a Porsche is all about, this is, believe if or not, one of the least expensive ways to find out. The doors have large storage bins that can even accommodate large bottles. The luggage compartment offers 17.7 cu. ft. of space and the rear bench seat when folded down increases capacity to 53 cu. ft. This is small for its class, but it could carry my bike without any problem. It is totally female friendly with easy to reach controls and exceptional interior lighting. In fact, the guttural sound of the exhaust, the brisk acceleration, and subdued ride are addicting. There is a lot to love here. The hold feature keeps the Macan in place when stopped on grades, the firm brakes provide confidence, and the high quality ratings add luster. Gas mileage was about 20 mpg. This Porsche bedevils one’s brokerage accounts.


Family conference: Robert Browning said it best, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” I believe he foresaw the Macan.

Chevrolet Silverado Midnight Edition: Perfect for El Nino
by The Car Family

With El Nino’s inclement weather predicted for the area one can never be too well prepared, and that is where Chevrolet’s Silverado 1500 4WD LTZ Crew Z71 Midnight Edition could well come in very handy. This all black beauty, and we man all black, is ready for bad weather with the Z71 off-road package, 4WD, locking rear differential, hill decent control, locking rear differential, skid plates, tow hooks, trailering package. Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac all-terrain tires, spray-in bedliner, rear park assist, and heated, power adjusted outside rear-view mirrors all could come in handy and there is plenty of room for a family with the cavernous cabin.

Chevrolet priced the Midnight Edition package for $1300 and is limiting this model to a production run of 5000. The truck is named for its paint package that includes black 18-inch rims, side moldings, drill, bumper, headlight bezels, tow hoods and fog lamps. Our fully loaded test vehicle came with the potent 6.2 liter Ecotec3 engine and eight speed transmission. Other options included a power sunroof, driver alert package, headed and cooled seats, Bose stereo system, Chevrolet’s Mylink Audio System, and a few smaller options adding about ten thousand dollars to the base $46,200 price.

Mom’s view: Thank goodness for the side tubular assist steps that made it easy to enter and leave. The Crew Cab option provided ample room for four adults, but limited the cargo bed to 5’8” meaning that hauling plywood sheets would require leaving the tail gate down. By the way, the tailgate is extremely easy to lower and raise. I found it difficult to get used to parking the Silverado due to its length, but eventually got mastered it. On the other hand, I found that people tended to give me the right of way when they saw this large pick-up approaching. When I drive a small car I frequently find drivers feel that your lane is their land. Not so with the Silverado. It also has such safety features as six air bags including a curtain side air bags, rear-vision camera, stability control, rollover mitigation, trailer sway control, and we had the option that vibrated the seat when the Chevrolet detected a car approaching as you were backing up. Chevrolet calls it the safety alert seat. There was also front and rear park assist, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert, among others. If you drive a pick-up you will find this Silverado easy to master. I liked the elevated ride height, reassuring feel of the Silverado in the rain, and the steps in the rear bumper that made it possible to climb into the bed without embarrassing myself.

Dad’s view: The large 6.2 liter engine provided exceptional torque and made freeway merging easy. The brake pedal feel, steering and ride are all above average, but the real treat for me was how enjoyable it was to drive in all situations. The interior is truly well done for work or play. The seats are power adjustable and the heating element works well. The large monitor is easy to master and you can change the instrument panel layout to suit your needs. The ride is smooth, but speed bumps and rough roads were a different story. The transmission works well and the Silverado wasn’t difficult to maneuver despite it size. A lot of pick-up owners commented favorably about the Midnight’s unique tire and rim package and exterior look. Overall, this is an excellent pick-up truck that provides a secure feeling whether going to work, taking the family on an outing or stopping El Nino in its tracks.

Young working woman’s view: This isn’t a sports truck and I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to keep clean, but it was easy to use even for me. I could see it being the only vehicle for a family with two kids and a dog in the rear seats and the latest garage sale items in the bed. The interior has two glove compartment, and abundance of storage areas in the doors and a center console that can swallow up the largest purse or laptop. Visibility is excellent in all directions and the power sunroof and rear window are convenient and simply to master. However, living in the city finding a parking place for the Silverado wouldn’t be easy. I would much prefer the smaller and niftier Colorado.

Young working male’s view: There are power outlets everywhere. The center console is the size of a small desk, and you have OnStar, 4G LTE Wi-Fi and an above average stereo. The Silverado also offers a Bose audio system, Chevrolet MyLink audio system, a very clear 8-inch touch and navigation monitor, and even USB ports, LED lighting, and an option I found very rare in a truck, a power sunroof. This is a truck that is well suited to tow a trailer, take the family skiing, or just drive on the beach sand with equal aplomb. It is a tough truck and the all black of the Midnight edition suits it well.

Family conference: An excellent family truck with a great many special features that make it handy. The 17 mpg average is fairly typical for all wheel drive trucks, but the 26 gallon fuel tanks means a range of over 400 miles and on the highway it could go to over 500 miles with an EPA 21 mpg average. This isn’t your average pick-up truck. It is loaded with features and offers buyers to have an extremely popular and handy vehicle that would be ideal for the El Nino season ahead. inclement weather ahead.

For more reviews go to https://www.motorists.org/car-family-car-reviews/

Teaching or Business: The Million Dollar Question
By Alan Haskvitz

For me, it was an easy choice. The lure of a career in business with its tax advantages, lucrative starting salary, and advancement based on my skills were enough to off-set the “touch the future” altruism of teaching. In economics terms, teaching was an opportunity cost and the benefits of a career in business were overwhelming.

It isn’t that I didn’t feel that teaching was a noble profession and I clearly benefited from having some exemplary teachers, but it didn’t take for me long to figure out that I wanted my own office more than my own classroom.

Choosing a degree in business especially made sense; dollars and cents wise. The classes were always interesting and I could apply almost everything I learned to the real world. Courses in economics, law, and sales promotion all had real life applications. My teaching preparation friends were taking education philosophy and education history classes taught by professors who, by and large, hadn’t been in a classroom in years, if at all. Even their methods classes were usually taught by instructors who had no record of achievement in the classroom leaving my friends having to look back to their days in public school for ideas on how to teach.

Anyway, I digress as the real reason I selected a career in business was money. There was the excitement of closing a deal and almost everything, every day was related to the acquisition of money. Since my parents were hard working, but still quite poor, I wanted to make them proud. Indeed, when I graduated I had five goals for my life. Two were personal, and three were based on money. Even the personal ones ended up being related to my business career. I was proud of my choices. It only took me two years in business to find myself driving a real Shelby Cobra to work, living in a great bachelor apartment, and being able to take two hour lunches. My company was paying my expenses to earn my MBA and I could even work at home at times. I had my office, my secretary, my parking spot, and access to the executive lunch room. Life was good.

cobra copy

Starting Salary

So, what would have happened if I would have become a teacher? First, the starting salary. I would be making $20,000 to $30,000 less per year. Yes, teachers are alleged to only work ten months, but they are not paid for the other two months. Worse, I knew that teachers have to constantly return to university to upgrade their skills and meet credential requirements. They were rewarded with slight income increases as they moved columns, but they had to face other realities. First, they had to pay for those courses and secondly, the columns topped out. In other words, even if they were the best teacher in the world they could only make a salary that was designed to be fair for all. Try that in business. Imagine the best salesperson getting the same as the worst or not being able to negotiate one’s own salary based on your accomplishments. The National Teachers Hall of Fame has over 100 inductees all of whom make the same as every other teacher in their district with similar experience and education. Do you think that the inductees in the National Football Hall of Fame make the same as their teammates in similar positions? Business is based on performance. I wanted to be paid for my performance.

As an aside, teachers’ pay money out of their pocket, sometimes in excess of $500, for classroom supplies. Those in the business world would be surprised at that and would ask why your employer didn’t buy what you needed. I found no answer.

So, on average, after 30 years without any significant changes becoming a teacher would cost me well over a half a million dollars and probably much more. But it could be nastier. There is also the uncertainty of teacher retirement plans as some states may not make their complete actuarial payment every year. And, as Time reported, there is almost a $500 billion shortfall for funding teacher pensions and that gap is growing. Of course I didn’t know that when I made my decision to stick with business, but I am not surprised. I wanted to have a more secure retirement based on my own investments and backed by a company I could count on as opposed to elected officials who could be manipulated by the whims of those reluctant to pay increased taxes. Yes, some industries have pension plans that have failed, but I still had the ability to put money into my own retirement plans and manage them myself. I also discovered that in California, as well as several other states, if I was a public school teacher over 66 percent of what I earned working at jobs that paid Social Security would be cut. It is called the Windfall Provision and is totally unfair, but apparently teachers didn’t have the clout to remove this financial punishment. So if I worked at jobs paying Social Security and was scheduled to make $1000 a month at retirement, the government would cut that to $300. If I was married and my spouse had Social Security benefits I would not be entitled to them as well.

I also knew that to be a teacher in California required at least four years of college plus a year of teacher preparation. By sticking to my business goals that amount of money and time could have given me a master’s of business administration and the difference in salary is startling. According to a NACE study, I would be making an averaging starting salary of $70,000 while those students in education averaged a little over $48,600. The master’s degree is worth nearly $12,000 a year more for an MBA and the college costs in time and money are the same. It just wasn’t adding up to select a teaching career especially when it could very possibly cost me a million dollars in lost wages.

Women Leaders Missing
Of course, I knew I would be working longer hours and not have the benefit of a union to protect me. But I also knew that I was confident in what I could do and the possibility of one day being my own boss. This leadership dream is something that is missing in education, especially among women. In an AASA study of the 13,728 superintendents only 1,984 were women even though 72 percent of all teachers are women. Add to that the fact that 75 percent of superintendents did not teach at the elementary level and only 130 were former elementary school teachers. Finally, as most experienced teachers know, coaching provides an excellent step up to administration positions with a sizable majority of superintendents indicating they had a coaching assignment while working as a teacher or building administrator. This was looked at as having leadership experience by those doing the hiring. Having students who excelled in the classroom apparently doesen’t count as much. This results in a quandary as few elementary teachers have opportunities for head coaching assignments. On the other hand, women in business also face an uphill battle with only 14.2% of the top five leadership positions at the companies in the S&P 500 are held by females, according to CNNMoney. It may be of interest to note that by contrast 36 percent of business leaders in the burgeoning marijuana industry are women. Just saying.

Teacher Benefits
An early report indicated that since 1996 teachers’ salaries have risen one percent and business majors 12 percent, according to a study by Sylvia A. Allegretto and Sean P. Corcoran (1). In terms of comparing wages for those with similar education, the authors found that since 1979 teacher wages relative to those of other similar workers have dropped 13.1%. And, when comparing those with comparable skill requirements such as accountants, reporters, registered nurses and inspectors, teachers earned 14.1% less when comparing hours worked.

The cost of teacher benefits is also a concern. Since 1994, the disadvantage in wages has not been offset by improved benefits, according to the Allegretto and Corcoran study. For example, teachers in 2002 received 19.3% of their total compensation in benefits, which was more than the 17.9% benefit share of compensation of professionals.

As a teacher I would have to work about 190 days a year. That would leave me significant time to get another job, travel, or upgrade my skills as a teacher. That was a potentially awesome benefit, but I knew there was more involved. This was proven in a study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development that shows that American elementary school teachers spend more hours actually teaching students than peers in any other surveyed country and the fact that teachers frequently have to spend their vacation time taking classes to maintain their certification. SchoolsMatter reports that 62 percent of teachers have other jobs. The New York Times repeats this figure.

Administrators Can Have it All

There is a bright side for teachers. If you become an administrator you are richly rewarded. Even at an average sized middle school, the principal can earn more than a nursing administrator running a large hospital who is responsible for supervising more staff, clients who are sick, dying, or worse, and also evaluating personnel. The rewards for administrators are even better if they reach the superintendent level. In fact, being a school superintendent is truly a gift from the benefit gods when it comes to income. In one California school district with very few problems the salary and benefit package was over $250,000, which could provide a lifetime retirement of over $130,000 per year after 30 years in education and Fox Business reports that superintendents in 12 states make more than the governors.Sweet. Of course that is the exception. However, in the business world I knew that if I did well I would be rewarded accordingly or I could find better opportunities elsewhere. A teacher has to deal with step and column.

As for stressful jobs, Salary.com ranked teaching as the 10th most stressful occupation. So those vacation days apparently are both coveted and needed by educators. I mean to be in the same category for stress as military personnel, fire and police, and surgeons does shed some light on the importance of teaching and its demands.

The average turnover for all teachers is 17 percent, and in urban school districts specifically, the number jumps to 20 percent. The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future estimates that one-third of all new teachers leave after three years, and 46 percent are gone within five years.

There is a different type of pressure in business. Essentially, it is to stay viable. Usually that means solvent. Either you are trying to stay in business or helping someone stay in business by doing more business. The pressure is difficult to assess as some companies treasure their employees and others try to squeeze them dry. Long hours and pressure from above are not unusual in the business. However, if you are good at your job the financial rewards usually come or you can start your own business or take a chance on moving. Teachers may find themselves literally stuck in a job if they find that their years of experience don’t count at another district when they try to leave.

Another concern when making a career choice is what you face on a daily basis. In the business world that could mean facing customers, designing plans, making changes, checking spreadsheets and more, but it does not mean facing 20 to 200 or more students and their parents on a daily basis. Customer complaints are usually dealt with an apology, a return of funds, or a force of denial. Legal action can be brought as well. A teacher has to answer to something that was said or done from the standpoint of an eight-year-old. Conferences with a parent, child, teacher and administrator are legendary. In many cases the story told by the child is denied by the teacher with an explanation. Whether it is accepted or not is based on the way the administrator backs up the teacher or parent. It could go either way with the administrator trying to stop the allegations from going to his or her superiors and the parent seeking redress or removal of the child from that teacher’s classroom or even the district. In the business world decisions are usually made on a dollars and cents basis. In education such objective evidence is seldom seen.

Education that may not pay off
A teacher who wants to become an administrator must go through an administrator education program. These take time and require financial obligations. The result may not even result in their selection as an administrator. The MBA may take additional courses, but they make the individual a more attractive candidate for future jobs. In education a candidate with “too much” education could be considered too expensive for a school district. Filling a job with the least experience, qualified teacher is an interesting corundum for a school district. Given a choice, would a district hire the most experienced and educated candidate or the least expensive?

Sadly, an individual who had an administrator credential, two bachelor degrees, and a master’s degree went to a California beach community and applied for the job. His background was impressive and filled with accomplishments. Every month he returned to check on his application as he knew the district was hiring. Knowing he was driving a long distance to make these visits, a secretary took pity and told him that he was never going to get hired because he was too expensive for the district. They were looking for new teachers that cost less. The word on the street is get the job first and afterwords go back for your advanced degree.
Schools of education are staffed by well-meaning professors who are usually far removed from the classroom and may be involved in the “publish or perish” syndrome in some cases. A successful classroom teacher is seldom chosen to teach at these institutions even though it was recommended by the national accreditation program. The result is classes are that are more theory with application of methods and curriculum classes awaiting student teaching assignments. The student teacher mentor who assist these future educators may not be the best for them. What are the requirements for these teachers of teachers? Do student teachers evaluate mentor teachers? Are student teachers left in the classroom to fend for themselves as the master teacher takes the time to float around the campus after a couple of weeks of observation?

Interestingly, the leading causes of teachers leaving the classroom is a lack of respect and support. How to deal with these is never mentioned in any teaching preparation program I have found. In the business world if negative data such as this was provided there would be an immediate reaction to stem the loss. When W. Edward Deming went to Japan to help that country’s manufacturing industry he came up with a multiple point plan. This plan was implemented and enabled great improvements to be made. How many of these do you think school administrators would be willing to make to improve education and teacher retention?

Create a constant purpose toward improvement.
Adopt the new philosophy. Be prepared for a major change in the way business is done. It’s about leading, not simply managing.
Stop depending on inspections.
Improve constantly and forever. Emphasize training and education so everyone can do their jobs better. Encourage staff to learn from one another
Provide a culture and environment for effective teamwork.
Implement leadership
Don’t simply supervise – provide support and resources so that each staff member can do his or her best.
Be a coach instead of a policeman
Figure out what each person actually needs to do his or her best. Emphasize the importance of participative management and transformational leadership.
Eliminate fear
Make workers feel valued, and encourage them to look for better ways to do things. Ensure that your leaders are approachable and that they work with teams to act in the company’s best interests.
Eliminate management by objectives.
Provide support and resources so that production levels and quality are high and achievable. Measure the process rather than the people behind the process.

Reading through that list it is apparent that education could learn a great deal from business. When I was visiting Baylor University I saw such an education leadership class using a business textbook. It was refreshing and certainly shows that the two fields don’t have to be mutually exclusive.


Knowing the financial deficits in teaching and the stress it is no wonder that the teaching occupation is stuck with George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman quote, “Those who can do, those who can’t teach” label. Is that true, hardly. But it is used consistently when people brow beat teachers with such half truths as you don’t have to work holidays, you get great benefits, you have a guaranteed job.

Again, more negativity toward teachers. In fact, outside of lawyer jokes those about teachers are the most vindictive. Why is that? Perhaps it is because teachers deal with millions of students every day and it only takes one remark or action to taint the whole bunch. Or perhaps it is because business people are trained to protect themselves. They can take classes in business law, public relations, sales promotion, and offer incentives to the public to praise their work. When a firm donates something it is usually in the newspaper and on social media. When an educator donates their time it is seldom mentioned. Teachers don’t trumpet their successes, business leaders do.

So the decision to choose teaching over business can be boiled down to one main question: Is it job security over financial gain? Once a teacher has tenure they may be set in that job for life providing the educator follows the rules. In business there is no such security blanket.
Stress, chances for leadership, a desire to serve society, working less days, and the difference between a gold watch and a crayon written thank you note can’t be measured in terms of dollars.

And, yes, I choose education after a brief fling in business. I still have the crayon note and I treasure it more than the million dollars. Did I just say that out-loud?

About the Author: National Hall of Fame teacher has accumulated over 30 state, national and international awards based on the success of his program. His work have been featured in books, periodicals, and on electronic media. He also worked in business. He is retired and does inservices.

(1) Sylvia A. Allegretto. Sean P. Corcoran American Economic Review and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Kia Sorento: Moving On Up
by The Car Family
for more reviews go to

2016 Sorento

2016 Sorento

Kia continues it quest to become one of the more respected vehicle manufacturers in the world and the Sorento is evidence that it may have arrived. Indeed, the independent Consumer Reports lists Kia as one of the top ten car brands placing them ahead of such stalwarts as BMW and Lincoln. Consumer Reports said, “”Kia delivers competent cars sold for less than the leaders in their respective segments.” We couldn’t agree more, but beware that a loaded Kia Sorento can cost nearly $45,000, although the base price is $24,900. Perhaps best of all, the Sorento is made in the USA.

The new Sorento has a host of features with improved handling and a more refined interior. Gas mileage is around 20 mpg, which isn’t great as the four cylinder engine is always working hard to keep the 3800 pound SUV on task, even with the six-speed automatic silently doing its best. The 18.2 fuel tank makes 350 mile treks possible and probably with the Kia’s comfortable seats and relaxed fit ride.

All-new 2016 Sorento 3.3-liter V6 SXL

All-new 2016 Sorento 3.3-liter V6 SXL

The Sorento is a good dual purpose vehicle that can travel most anywhere in style with a quiet ride, roomy interior, and ample acceleration. We like the Nissan Murano and Toyota Highlander as competitors, but neither have the range of options although the Nissan is more nimble and the Toyota larger. We especially like the many unique features of this Kia such as a hatch that opens automatically when it senses you waiting, and, the side mirrors that open and close automatically. There is also a myriad of safety features.

Mom’s view: The Sorento shines most in its interior and features. Upscale materials abound and there is ample cargo room with optional third row of seats. The front passengers have excellent positioning and the seats have optional heating and cooling features. We found the Sorento’s cooling seats the best we have tested and the air conditioning was able to hold its own with temperatures over 100 degrees even though are test vehicle had the huge panoramic roof. I love the contrasting look of the interior materials. The Sorento has the appearance of a much more expensive vehicle. Standard features include Bluetooth, a USB port and satellite radio. We insist you check out the available rearview camera with the 360-degree camera system, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic monitoring, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, that add to you family’s safety. Our loaded test vehicle’s GPS was easy to use with an 8-inch touch screen. Other features were a 10-speaker Infinity surround-sound audio system, and Kia’s UVO infotainment system. Overall, an interesting vehicle that will surprise you. Don’t forget to see the automatic liftgate in action. Best mall shopping option ever.

Dad’s view: Sorento’s new 2.0-liter turbocharged four produces 240 horsepower and is very frisky making freeway merging easy, but the engine is a bit gruff when pushed. Other Sorento choices are the base 185 horsepower 2.4-liter and the 3.3-liter V-6, making 290 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque and is best for towing. You can order all-wheel drive with any engine and that option features torque vectoring between front and rear wheels for stability. Brakes and steering feel are adequate, but the ride was too soft for my taste. It was tuned more for comfort. A while back Kia’s driving dynamics weren’t ready for prime time, but now they are and the result is an even handed SUV. You can switch drive modes that change the steering weighting and transmission shift points, but what most people are going to do is just appreciate how quiet this rig is and how obedient.

<img src=”https://carfamily.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/sorento_sxl-dash.jpg?w=300″ alt=”

Young working woman’s view: I don’t care for SUVs, but this might be an exception. Previous models were not as large and a bit dreary inside. The new one is much improved with more interior room and a more modern appearance. I would never think this was a Kia from the interior’s appearance. Wow. The materials are nicely coordinated and have a good feel to them. The safety features let you know whether there are cars in your blind spot or, in a parking lot, coming down the lane. There are even arrows to tell you which direction they are coming. The Sorento also offered forward collision warning, smart cruise control and a surround view parking monitor. The Kia makes you feel safe and the optional Nappa leather interior surfaces make you feel snug. Very reassuring.

Young male’s view: Adaptive cruise control, an all-around-view camera, and Siri Eyes Free for the iPhone are all part of the Sorento’s offerings and a plethora of other high-tech options enables this Kia to challenge the big boys. However, its bland looks, despite the sleeker headlights, makes it far to generic for my tastes. On the plus side the key fob has a distinct button for locking that is very useful and the front and rear doors open wide making entry and exit easy. A comforting vehicle.

Family conference: From the Smart Liftgate to the numerous options and the great warranty make the Sorento a versatile family vehicle. However, the numerous options that can raise the price nearly $20,000 makes it important that you do your homework. The result is a vehicle that you can drive with the satisfaction of advanced satiety features and a relaxed ride that are reassuring. No question about it, the Sorento is moving on up.

Are teachers better off in conservative or liberal states at retirement?
By National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

Most public school districts have a retirement plan that is based on your income as an educator. Some base it on your highest salary and some of the best three years. Obviously, salaries change and so do the politics and so the chart I have made reflects those salaries from the National Education Association (NEA) and are fairly current.

The data does not reflect the living costs in each state. The cost of living certainly is going to eat up more of your pay check to live in some areas of California over those in Nebraska. However, this study was not designed with that as a criteria because some teachers may want to retire in another state which may have a higher or lower cost of living. Thus, if you are looking for good salary and, perhaps, willing to move, this chart may be of significance knowing that in the next few years there is going to be a lot of jobs as the Baby Boomers move into retirement and leave significant openings for new hires. Some states may require a few more courses to gain your accreditation in that state, but those courses are tax deductible and the cost of the move may be deducible as well. It is best to check with your tax person.

The first consideration is to ask yourself does it pay (income wise) overall to work in a conservative state. Well, not really. Here is what A GALLUP poll lists as the most conservative states. I have added that states average and starting salary from the NEA site as well. However, most salary data is a couple of years old. Nevertheless, the average percentages should remain similar.

Here is the salary information for the most conservative states (starting-average)

North Dakota

Here is the salary information for the most liberal states (starting-average)

Rhode Island
New York
New Jersey

Average starting salary conservative states $34,00* average salary $48,200*
Average starting salary liberal states $39,900* average salary $61,000*

Retirement differences

Although these figures may no longer be accurate, they do provide insight into the averages a teacher may expect. As for retirement numbers, studies have shown that when a teacher retires after 30 years their retirement is typically in the 60 and 75 percent of her final salary range.

It does not take long to see that those working in the liberal states not only make more money to start, but are going to make significantly more when retiring. A teacher working in a conservative state who retires with an above average salary of $50,000 should get a retirement check of $30,000. A teacher in a liberal state making a slightly below average of $60,000 would get $36,000 based on 60 percent. In California, for example, the majority of teachers are getting in the range of $55,000 to $70,000 a year.

I did not factor in Social Security as the Windfall Elimination Factor can deprive teachers of the full payment they should have received while working jobs that require Social Security deductions. The Windfall Elimination can eliminate 66 percent of their retirement from Social Security even though they have paid for it over the years. That is why teachers who have been in other occupations for a significant amount of time might want to look at how much they are going to lose by becoming a teacher in those states where the Windfall is in play. It could cost them thousands of dollars a month.

There is no way to factor in cost of living for various cities. However, there is a site that helps you with this http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/. I compared Bismark, North Dakota to Los Angeles, California. The cost of living in Bismark was $50,000 and for Los Angeles $67,000. The average salary for a teacher in North Dakota was about $47,000. The average salary for a teacher in Los Angeles was $59,000. A budgeting teacher in Bismark could break even, but the Los Angeles teacher needs to find a second income. However, when it is time to retire, the California teacher is going to have $36,000 coming in and the North Dakota teacher under $30,000. Essentially, $500 a month more and the truth of the matter is that it could be far more with $100,000 teacher salaries in California for teachers with over 30 years of experience becoming commonplace.

Bottom Line

If you are free to live anywhere, willing to adopt to new surroundings and requirements, you might want to consider working in a liberal state and retiring in a conservative one. Indeed, some states don’t tax Social Security and others don’t have an income tax. It is a difficult choice to move from the known to the unknown. The best advise I can give is that after you have done your homework, after you have made your decision to start a new life in a new state remember that wherever you go, there you are so know yourself.
* Figures are rounded off and may not be current.

Resources for National Hispanic* Heritage Month
By National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, America observes National Hispanic Heritage Month. This observation began in 1968 as National Hispanic Heritage Week, but it was expanded in 1988 to include the entire month-long period. To help educators and parents with this observance, I have put together free resources to help undestand the significance of the month and tie it in with Common Core reading and writing reqirements.

One of the official sites

Latino-Hispanic Heritage

Smithsonian Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Resources for Teachers

Hispanic Heritage Music Resources
You may be asked to register.

Other lessons related to Hispanic history
The Aztecs – Mighty Warriors of Mexico

Aztecs Find a Home: The Eagle has Landed
A unit of study about the founding of the Aztecs capital, Tenochtitlan

A encompassing view of how Europeans controlled the natives.

Cortez and the Aztecs: Different Points of View
Great for Common Core lessons

Couriers in the Inca Empire
A lesson about the communications of the time period. For elementary age students.

Teaching with Historic Places
Excellent site with a v ariety of lessons from the National Park Service

Culture and History Through the Use of Children’s Literature – This site has three simple lesson plans to provide examples of what can be done for this month using literature as a base. Not for everyone.

Hispanic Culture and People
Andes Manta – From the Kennedy Center’s ArtsEdge celebration of Latin American arts

Students can create own clickable map of Mexico

Some Famous Hispanic Scientists

Latin America Data Base
Good resoucres for creating Common Core math lessons

Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo Activities 
Large number of lessons

Mr. Donn’s Cinco de Mayo Lessons
Large variety of lessons for all age levels

History of Mexican Independence Day

*Full Definition of HISPANIC
1.of or relating to the people, speech, or culture of Spain or of Spain and Portugal
2. of, relating to, or being a person of Latin American descent living in the United States; especially :  one of Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican origin

Free Day of the Dead Lesson Plans and Activities
by National Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz

This holiday is an excellent way to expose students to culture using a variety of methods. Makes an excellent compare and contrast activity when you use a holiday from another culture. This site has some good ideas to use in that regard

Day of the Dead lesson plan
For elementary, a mini lesson

Elaborate lesson plan for upper elementary and middle school

This is a download for primary, elementary. Very nice packet.

Other Mexican Holidays
Link page
Images, photos, art
Cinco de Mayo activities to compare
Cinco de Mayo resources


Large unit of study for elementary with word wall and more lessons. Cinco de Mayo oriented.


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