September 2015


Kia Sorento: Moving On Up
by The Car Family
for more reviews go to
http://www.motorists.org/carfamily/

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.

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Are teachers better off in conservative or liberal states at retirement?
By National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz
http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/Ringleaders/al.html

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)

Alabama
$36,198
$47,949
North Dakota
$32,019
$47,344
Wyoming
$43,269
$56,775
Mississippi
$31,184
$41,814
Utah
$33,081
$49,393
Oklahoma
$31,606
$44,373
Idaho
$31,159
$49,734
Louisiana
$38,655
$51,381
Arkansas
$32,691
$46,631
Nebraska
$30,844
$48,997

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

Massachusetts
$40,600
$72,334
Oregon
$33,549
$57,612
Vermont
$35,541
$52,526
Delaware
$39,338
$59,679
Connecticut
$42,924
$69,397
Washington
$36,335
$52,234
Rhode Island
$39,196
$63,474
Hawaii
$41,027
$54,300
New York
$43,839
$75,279
California
$41,259
$69,324
New Jersey
$48,631
$68,797
Maine
$31,835
$48,430

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
http://www.findingdulcinea.com/features/profiles/h/alan-haskvitz.html

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
http://www.hispanicheritagemonth.org/

Latino-Hispanic Heritage
http://www.42explore2.com/latino.htm

Smithsonian Hispanic Heritage Month
http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/heritage_month/hhm/index.html

Hispanic Heritage Resources for Teachers
https://www.teachervision.com/hispanic-heritage-month/south-america/6629.html

Hispanic Heritage Music Resources
You may be asked to register.
https://www.teachervision.com/hispanic-heritage-month/resource/20161.html

Other lessons related to Hispanic history
The Aztecs – Mighty Warriors of Mexico
http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/aztecs-mdash-mighty-warriors-mexico

Aztecs Find a Home: The Eagle has Landed
A unit of study about the founding of the Aztecs capital, Tenochtitlan
http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/aztecs-find-home-eagle-has-landed

Conquistadors
A encompassing view of how Europeans controlled the natives.
http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/theconquistadors/tp/08conquistadors.htm

Cortez and the Aztecs: Different Points of View
Great for Common Core lessons
http://historyclassroom20.wikispaces.com/file/view/less-mayaztec1.pdf

Couriers in the Inca Empire
A lesson about the communications of the time period. For elementary age students.
http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/couriers-inca-empire-getting-your-message-across

Teaching with Historic Places
Excellent site with a v ariety of lessons from the National Park Service
http://www.nps.gov/search/?affiliate=nps&query=hispanic

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.
http://www.cis.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1997/2/97.02.06.x.html#i

Hispanic Culture and People
Andes Manta – From the Kennedy Center’s ArtsEdge celebration of Latin American arts
http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/multimedia/series/VideoStories/andes-manta.aspx

Students can create own clickable map of Mexico
http://createaclickablemap.com/create-clickable-map-mexico.php?maplocation=mexico

Some Famous Hispanic Scientists
http://coloquio.com/famosos/science.html
And
http://www.factmonster.com/spot/hhmbio4.html

Latin America Data Base
Good resoucres for creating Common Core math lessons
http://ladb.unm.edu/

Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo Activities 
Large number of lessons
http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/cinco-de-mayo/

Mr. Donn’s Cinco de Mayo Lessons
Large variety of lessons for all age levels
http://holidays.mrdonn.org/cincodemayo.html

History of Mexican Independence Day
http://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/tlresources/units/byrnes-celebrations/mid.html

*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
http://www.merriam-webster.com/

Free Day of the Dead Lesson Plans and Activities
by National Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz
http://www.findingdulcinea.com/features/profiles/h/alan-haskvitz.html

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
http://school.discoveryeducation.com/lessonplans/programs/mexicanholidays/

Day of the Dead lesson plan
For elementary, a mini lesson
http://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/tlresources/units/Byrnes-celebrations/Day.html

Elaborate lesson plan for upper elementary and middle school
http://edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?id=740

This is a download for primary, elementary. Very nice packet.
http://www.azcentral.com/ent/dead/teachers/teacherpacket_edited.pdf

Other Mexican Holidays
http://school.discoveryeducation.com/lessonplans/programs/mexicanholidays/
Link page
http://holidays.mrdonn.org/dayofthedead.html
Images, photos, art
http://www.mexconnect.com/mex_/feature/daydeadindex.html
Videos
http://archive.azcentral.com/ent/dead/video/
Cinco de Mayo activities to compare
http://www.theteacherscorner.net/seasonal/cinco-de-mayo/index.htm
Cinco de Mayo resources
http://www.teach-nology.com/teachers/lesson_plans/holidays/cincodemayo/

http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/cinco-de-mayo/index.html

Large unit of study for elementary with word wall and more lessons. Cinco de Mayo oriented.
http://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/tlresources/units/Byrnes-celebrations/cincodemayo.html

Dealing with Hate in the Classroom
by National Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

Almost every classroom has incidents where a prevailing moment reveals hate. This is not unusual, but it is a teachable moment. A very teachable moment for the parent or educator willing to take the time to consider the various cause and effects aspects and act accordingly. This is where experience pays. In many cases the issue has surfaced previously and the actions taken at that time may have worked, if nothing else by pure luck. However, the speediest method is to gloss over the episode, push the incident into the future, and move on with the lesson at hand.

It is important to note that criticism is not hate. One of the most counterproductive comment is that a criticism of something is being negative. Nothing could be further from the truth. Calling someone negative may make the caller feel better, as name calling frequently does, but in fact, the name caller is the one being negative. Criticism is meant to improve something. It may not be accurate, but it is certainly needs to be carefully studied as it roots can reveal a great deal about how others see an issue and fresh viewpoints can result in positive improvements. There is a quote by Robert Ingersloll. We Rise by Lifting Others that reads, “Being critical means one cares.” That being said, negativity may just be the result of not being able to see another person’s point of view. In A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy there is a segment where a gun is revealed whose sole purpose if to fire at someone and inflict on them the ability to see things from the gunner’s point of view. A very valuable weapon. I am sure that every teacher would own one for classroom use.

Hating is something difficult to evade. For example, if you are a good teacher and someone acknowledges that there may be another who feels he or she is just as good they could turn that feeling into hate. A great deal of hate can be traced to someone being jealous of another and seeing that individual’s success as not deserved. Something as simple as someone getting a better grade can result in negative, hateful remarks. Being successful nurtures hate. Call it human nature. Even those who profess religious tolerance and obedience have difficulty avoiding hatred. Here are several quotes from the Bible about hate
http://www.openbible.info/topics/hate

This is not to delve into the freedom of speech quandary over hate. That is another issue. This essay is about how to deal with hate based on your background and those of the individuals involved to the best of your ability. To mention the fact that dealing with hate is complex is an understatement. At best dealing with hate in a productive manner can nullify, perhaps for the moment, hate and turn it into a lesson that others may benefit from. In other words, a teachable moment.

The number one rule when dealing with hate is that although it is universal, it is not universal. In other words, not everyone hates someone or something, but someone is going to hate. Indeed, that is what makes people so attuned to it. You can have 35 students in your classroom but the one who hates you is the one who gets your attention. And since hate is usually learned, it may well mean that his or her parents may also support that hate. So your ignore the good and turn to the squeaky wheel that needs attention . So rule number one is to confront the issue by trying to find out the cause. That does not mean you have to agree with the cause, but you need to understand what caused it before you react. One of the most dramatic causes is that haters may feel that they are the center of the world. It revolves around them and this may well be fermented and brewed at home. At school it can be a leading cause of bulling. Bullying is essentially a display of hate for others that must be learned behavior. Babies are not born with it, to the best of my knowledge. Bullying is encouraged by those whose self-esteem is built upon expressing their disdain for others. It could be a fear of being low man on the totem pole or the belief that putting someone down enables their status and enables them a step up on their self-esteem chart. Thus is it imperative that you find out the cause of the hate by asking the hater for his or her feelings on the manner. They may not know why, but by opening their eyes to the possible results of their actions it may stop hating in the future. I broke up a student fight one day and after pulling the two participants apart asked them what caused it. One boy said the other deserved it. The other boy had no idea what caused it. I warned and dismissed them with the usual warning. I didn’t make it a teachable moment. I regret that now. What if I would have sat down with both of them to get to the bottom of the disagreement? Maybe nothing would be resolved, but at least they would understand each other better and I wouldn’t have to get my Hitchhiker gun.

Lesson number two is not to let hate get the better of you. Google fight reveals that there are 100 negative student comments to one positive comment. Although not clearly an academic study, it does reveal that is negative clearly gets more attention. I had an assistant superintendent of instruction who didn’t like me at all despite my successes or, perhaps, because of them. When I was being interviewed for a mentor position she asked me what day would be best. I said that Wednesday wouldn’t be good for me knowing that I had classes on the other days. She told me that Wednesday was the only day she could make it. I told her I would try and make arrangements. I took great pride on how I didn’t let her hate get the better of me. Of course I was rejected, but her use of her position enabled her to do so and left me powerless overall. This is the same bullying that rears its ugly head when students who are viewed as more popular use their “power” to regale others with negative views. Learning how to deal with hate sometimes requires a support group, but always requires the individual learn how to cope without endangering themselves mentally or physically.

Lesson number three is to not underestimate the danger of hate. It lingers and can cause damage to all concerned. Glossing over even something as simply as name calling can manifest itself in lifetime of harm and thoughts of retaliation. Indeed, there is a clear need for a battle plan for dealing with hate. First, invest in a good anti-bullying campaign such as http://beyondbullies.org/ and use it for the entire school. Using peers is always best as there is inherit mistrust of adults by some. Secondly, there should be a procedure to follow and it should be part of a staff development plan. First, investigate the cause or causes. Secondly, don’t make judgments. Third, don’t blame. Fourth, support both parties by educating them to the potential impact of their acts. Fourth, make a time line to follow up with those involved. Don’t let the matter drop. Finally, see how widespread this hate might be. Talking to students without naming names can provide depth.

Often time the problem with finding the cause of hate isn’t easy to ascertain. Online videos of students who have been bullied or the victim of hate are shown and yet students frequently miss the point. They think it was terrible, no doubt, especially if the featured child commits suicide. But they don’t understand that people react differently to hate. Was it the child’s fault that he or she couldn’t “take it?” Studies of the impact of hate on an individuals all point to its negative and dangerous nature. What is missing is what should have been done to stop it. There are many instances where a student or parent complained to the school and nothing was done. Unfortunately, it was probably because those involved were too busy, thought they had solved the problem, or wanted the problem to go away. So the final rule is get feedback and act on it. I would suggest that dealing with bullying and hate be part of standardized testing. Having students read about it and write conclusions clearly fits into Common Core standards and yet such reading lessons are non-existent at present.

Last rule: You must do an anti-hate/bullying program school wide using a quality program. Everyone must be involved from classified to certified in the training. Changing attitudes is not a one assembly or staff development program. That is why it is critical to have administration support such causes with time and funding. A district wide policy would be even more effective. Using student mentors is essential as well. And, to gain the maximum benefit the program should give students the opportunity to write about concerns and learn how to deal with them. The program should develop a cadre of students who are trained to help curtain hate and bullying.

Conclusion: Haters are going to hate. They get satisfaction from that and the notoriety may provide the support they need to continue to spread hate. When you see images, read articles, and listen to rhetoric against groups or individuals by adults you have to question what happened to them in life and in school that empowered them to be so hateful. Perhaps just one teacher’s caring remarks and follow up might have made the difference. Regardless, the issue of dealing with hate should be part of every teacher preparation program and every district’s mission statement. There are rules of behavior posted in nearly every school room and yet there are few posted about hate and bullying. Perhaps it is time to move dealing with hate up a notch in the curriculum hierarchy and treat it as a crime against humanity.