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Welcome!

The Moncurs!

All In The Family by Jay C. Bakari

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

Welcome! This blog will be a place with informative topics and discussions for everyone to participate in. Many of these topics that we’ll discuss will be about life in general, family, education, sports, and Walt Disney World; and Universal Studios Florida.

About us: we have known each other for 16 years and been married for 11 years; we have two beautiful and energetic children, an 8-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son. We are both veteran educators in the school system in both Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Broward County Public Schools. We both worship in The Episcopal Church. We love to travel by air, water, and especially roadtrips!!! Lastly, we just enjoy family, having fun, and a little rest & relaxation. This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

So stay tuned for more and subscribe below to get notified when we post new updates.

School Zone Safety

Photo courtesy: WLRN.org

As throngs of school kids return to the classroom after their Christmas break (or to be politically correct–winter break). Now would be a good time to remind everybody who drives to be aware of school zones once again. Kids of all grades from K-12 will either be walking, bicycling, dropped off, or riding the school or transit buses back to school. As a teacher it frustrates me when I see drivers just blaze through school zones especially when they are active and you see kids on the streets. Is driving 15 to 25 m.p.h. (depending on where you live) for about thirty seconds really a major life changer? I always find it amazing when I see drivers speed through the school zone, and once past it then drive as if they want to obey the speed limit all of a sudden. I’m sure we have all heard on the news where a student was hit by a car speeding through the school zone or racing past a stopped school bus letting kids off.

We all know that speed kills. But speeding through an active school zone can change so many lives just because you chose not to drive 15, 20, or 25 m.p.h. for thirty seconds. Now we may all cheat just a little going a few m.p.h. over, but not being so blatant as to go 10-15+ m.p.h. over though. Imagine how an unfortunate accident in a school zone will change the lives and paths of both families and the students who attend that school. As the driver, you have permanently altered the lives of the family whose child was either hit or kill because you sped through or were on your cellphone in the school zone. But you as the driver have also altered your own personal and family life too. Life changing for not wanting to obey the speed limit in a school zone.

Photo courtesy: KWTX.com

So as the kids return back to school, please slow down for those few seconds. Too much is at stake when driving through school zones. Just remember that no life is worth losing or having to pay those fines for speeding through a school zone.

Be safe out there.

The Fight: Kids vs Vegetables

Photo courtesy: Time

If you are a parent of a child or children, then you definitely know the fight that occurs during lunch or dinner time when it involves vegetables being put on the plate. It is no secret that most kids do not like eating vegetables. All parents know about the hassles, the arguments, the struggles, and the all-to-common: “You’re going to sit there until you eat all of your vegetables, even if it means all night!” Every parent remembers that line as a child growing up and has used it on their own kids today.

As a father of two young ones (8-years old and 4-years old), there has definitely been struggles in getting them to eat their vegetables. At times even a standoff in getting them to eat their vegetables. As a child growing up, vegetables were something that I enjoyed eating. Now in all honesty, I did not enjoy every vegetable that was put on the plate (i.e. squash, Brussels sprouts). But I did enjoy eating corn, green peas, green beans, carrots, broccoli, spinach, and even beets. I’m not sure why that was the case, perhaps its growing up in a Bahamian family background and the vegetables were just seasoned right.

Courtesy: CDC

We all know that vegetables are healthy and nutritional for our bodies and minds. But somewhere the notion that vegetables are terrible has warped the minds of the current generation of kids. It is easy to explain why this is a problem mostly because eating healthy is not always discussed in school, many YouTube Kids’ videos highlight the bad taste of vegetables, and lastly, a lot of parents DO NOT eat vegetables themselves. My two kids struggled and fought hard against eating vegetables in the beginning. The first vegetable we got them both to eat were carrots. Believe me, it was no easy task the first couple of times. I can honestly say there is really no special technique other than keep putting it on their plate and staying firm about them eating vegetables. Our one trick was to have them eat at least one carrot, and then slowly start having them eat more and more at each meal. Another trick of ours would be to mix (or hide) it within a favorite dish of theirs (i.e. rice). Once they were comfortable with eating carrots, we would slowly introduce another vegetable with it being corn. We have continued on introducing new vegetables, the newest being sauteed Brussels sprouts. Believe me, it can happen.

So my advice to any parent in getting your little one(s) to eat their vegetables: stay firm, stay strong, and take it day-by-day. It won’t be easy by any stretch to get them to eat vegetables at first, but keep fighting through it. As the parent, you have to set the example by placing and eating vegetables on your plate as well. As your child sees you eating vegetables it will make them want to eat theirs too. Take one victory bite at a time…praise them and continue to put vegetables on their plate.

What are some examples of how you got your little ones to eat their vegetables? Leave a comment below.

Annual Pass vs Multi-Day Tickets

Courtesy: Diz-abled.com

Part three of the “Livin’ the Disney Life” series will discuss something that is a very important decision that you will have to make when planning your Disney vacation…TICKETS!!! When purchasing tickets to Walt Disney World, it is either purchase an annual pass or multi-day tickets. I will give you advice for both of them and hopefully it will help in your decision when planning your vacation.

Multi-day Tickets

It is no secret that visiting Disney World is not cheap, and in fact, it could ultimately break the bank or budget. Especially when you consider that both Disneyland and Walt Disney World have raised one-day ticket admission and annual pass prices the last few years. One-day ticket prices can range from $109 to $139 on peak days. Definitely utilize Disney World’s monthly ticket price calendar (scroll towards the end) to see. When purchasing tickets, the more days you purchase the more money you will save. After deciding on the number of days, you then have to decide if you want to add the park hopper option to your tickets. Park hopper allows you to visit more than one theme park each day. However, the cost can be very shocking when you factor the price for park hopper options range from $60 to $80 per ticket depending on the number of days purchased. Now Disney World does offer special price tickets for Florida residents (1-, 3- or 4-day tickets) where they can save up to 40% on multi-day tickets over non-Florida residents. Disney World also offers a 4-park Magic Ticket for $83.75/day ($335 per ticket) for everyone that is good for one theme park each day.

Courtesy: Zuntic

Annual Pass

Becoming an annual passholder to Walt Disney World is like sitting on a gold mine if you love any and everything about Disney. My family (wife, daughter, and grandma) and I started with buying multi-day tickets and then realized that we were spending anywhere north of $600 just for admission. And that’s not counting theme park parking cost, food, merchandise, and lodging. When the decision was made to become annual passholders, we viewed Disney’s annual pass options page to decide which pass would fit our budget. There are 7 annual pass options, plus 2 more for the water parks. I would suggest you look at each annual pass to find the right one that not only fits your budget, but how often will you visit the parks and are you a Florida resident. The basic benefits of all the annual passes are (1) free standard theme park parking and (2) up to 20% discount on select merchandise and select dining. Now depending on your annual pass you pick may have blackout dates, may be able to visit all four theme parks on the same day or may include Disney PhotoPass downloads. My family (now with the addition of a son) and I have been Disney Platinum Pass members the past four years. Yes, the cost of our annual pass has gone up the past two years, but you do get a 15% discount each year that you renew. Plus it is 365 days of being able to visit the Disney theme parks. So to begin your annual pass, simply purchase a one-day ticket and use it as the down payment. For Florida residents, you can simply take advantage of the monthly payment plan to pay for your annual pass. So currently, my Disney Platinum Pass cost $67/month. The main benefits that I enjoy for being a Platinum Pass member is no blackout dates, 20% discount for merchandise/dining, free PhotoPass downloads and special V.I.Passholder benefits and events held throughout the year (i.e. special previews to Pandora: World of Avatar, Toy Story Land, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge).

Courtesy: Reddit

So once again the question begs…do you buy multi-day tickets or become an annual passholder? The only rationale I can offer you is simply this: Will you be visiting Walt Disney World more than once during the year? If your answer is no, then purchasing multi-day tickets will probably be the way to go. But don’t forget to check for ticket discounts on Disney’s website. However, if you plan on visiting Disney World more than once, I would strongly look at becoming an annual passholder. Remember there are many annual passes to choose from that will fit your budget. Plus, even if you visit twice that year, your annual pass would have paid for itself. Lastly, as an annual passholder, you get multiple passholder magnets available to you throughout the year. And who doesn’t like getting free magnets to put on your vehicle or refrigerator?!!!

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Product Review: Power Bank

26,800mAh Ultra High Capacity Power Bank (Courtesy: Amazon)

In today’s society, we are constantly busy using either our cellphones, labtops, tablets, iPads, and any other device that requires charge from time to time. Now granted, you can charge your device(s) just about everywhere using either the USB cable or a power outlet. But when you read or watch the news, you learn how hackers are constantly trying to access your information from your cellphones or labtops/tablets especially when just using your USB cable to charge them. Wouldn’t it feel great to not worry about searching or looking for a power outlet or USB cable station?

So one of the best ways to avoid all the searching for power outlets and those threats from hackers, it is best to have your own power bank to charge your devices. On Labor Day weekend of 2019, all of South Florida was bearing down and getting prepared for Hurricane Dorian to hit after devastating the northern Bahamas. Prior to Dorian making that turn north up the eastern Florida seaboard, I searched everywhere in trying to find a high capacity power bank for not only my wife and I’s cellphones, but also our two kids’ iPads just in case if the power was to go out for an extended period of time. Therefore, I invested $33 to purchase this power bank from Amazon right after Hurricane Dorian turned north.

Courtesy: Amazon

In the past four months since the arrival of this product, I have nothing but high praise for this power bank. You can charge up to 3 devices simultaneously at 5V/2.1A, 5V/2.1A, or 5V/1.0A when needed. The power bank arrives about 30% charge already for you. Generally charging the power bank overnight will fully charged it. One piece of advice: dump the micro-USB cable that comes with it. It will only work for charging the power bank, not so much for charging your devices. I paid for a very good 4 ft. USB cable from Target for $10 that I use to charge both devices or the power bank at night. Charging speed is very good; for example, if I were to charge my cellphone with 15% battery left, within 30-45 minutes my cellphone is fully charged. The best features of this power bank is that it is very lightweight, full LCD screen that displays battery capacity power (input/output/amperage status), and dual flashlights when searching for something in the dark. One last great feature of this power bank is the safety protection technology that protects your device(s) from overcharging, over-voltage, or short circuit.

Courtesy: Amazon

The best conveniences of this product is when you’re away from home or an outlet to charge your device. I have found it best to use while on school field trips, traveling, and definitely when at the Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando theme parks.

I definitely recommend this product especially if you travel a lot, are in the theme parks or just want the freedom to not have to be stationary when charging your device(s).

Staying on property vs Staying off property

Disney’s Contemporary Resort (Courtesy: Liberty Travel)

Now that you have decided on the dates of when to visit Walt Disney World. Let us continue with “Livin’ the Disney Life!” six-part series. Part two of this series will help you decide on where to stay during your vacation. There are so many choices and options at your disposal on where to stay, that both offer advantages and disadvantages. So do you stay on property or stay off property? There are currently over 30 resorts on Walt Disney World’s property. With all of them offering different price ranges, amenities, complimentary airport and resort transportation, and distinctive benefits for staying on property. Staying off property will save in the cost of the hotel, the use of hotel or credit card reward points, and perhaps to just get away from Disney itself. So let us dive in…

Staying on property

With Walt Disney World having over 30 resorts from which to choose from. Families and just about everyone will be able to find a resort that fits within your budget. Disney resorts are broken into pricing tiers or categories: Value, Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villas. So therefore, you can get an idea of what you would pay based on where you choose to stay, room type, and location too. On Disney’s explore resort hotels page, you can filter what category, price range, location, and characteristics that interest you the most. Because each resort is uniquely themed, each one offers different amenities such as themed pools, jogging/walking trails, bicycle rentals, golfing, and entertainment. So there is a resort for families of all sizes, couples, and just those getting away. I have had the opportunity to stay at a Disney resort in all three categories: Disney’s All-Star Music Resort (Value), Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-French Quarter (Moderate), and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa (Deluxe Villa). With the last two resorts being wedding anniversary stays, I do highly recommend Port Orleans-French Quarter just simply because of that New Orleans, Louisiana flare.

So lets talk about the many advantages of staying on property. If you are flying into Orlando International Airport (MCO), Disney’s Magical Express complimentary motor coach service will assist you with your bags and drive you in comfort to your resort. Therefore your Disney vacation can officially begin! Staying on property also gives you complimentary transportation throughout Walt Disney World. These options may include buses, water taxis, monorail, and the new Skyliner; all depending on which resort you’re staying at. Staying at a resort also gives you complimentary magic bands too. But perhaps one of the two biggest advantages to staying at a Disney resort is the 60-day advance window to book FastPass+ for three rides for each day at one of the four Disney theme parks. Whereas everyone else (Annual Passholders and those who buy tickets online) only get a 30-day advance window. The second big advantage is extra magic hours. On select days, one or two Disney theme parks will either open early or stay open late for guests staying at a Disney resort. So you either get an early start or hang out late. These two advantages are huge and helps make your vacation truly worth it. Finally, one last advantage of staying on property, you can always return to your resort room for a nap (especially if you have little ones) or take a dip in the pool, or when you just want to rest your feet and get away from the crowds during the middle of the day before heading back out for nighttime entertainment.

In fairness as the saying goes: “you get what you paid for”. With that being said, there is a certain level of expectation and the fit and finish to the rooms depending on where you stay. If you’re staying at a value resort, obliviously, the amenities and the fit and finish won’t be absolute top notch; but the best possible accommodations available. Simply put, don’t expect a Rolls Royce interior inside a Chevrolet Sonic. But one suggestion I do recommend, always check the “special offers, deals & discount” page to find all the offers and discounts that are available.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (Courtesy: Disney Fine Art Photography)

The one disadvantage I will say about staying on property are the resort parking fees if you are driving your own vehicle or rental. The parking fees will vary depending on what category resort you are staying at. Parking fees for 2020 at Value resorts are $15/night, Moderate resorts are $20/night, and Deluxe resorts are $25/night. So you must truly factor this into your budget.

Staying off property

Now staying off Disney’s property is an option that many people do consider. Because there are many advantages to this option. Staying off property allows you to choose any hotel or resort brand that is in the Lake Buena Vista, Kissimmee, and Orlando area. Since the cost will probably be cheaper, it allows you to find a great hotel or resort that is within driving distance of Disney World. There is absolutely no shortages of hotels, resorts and timeshares all within perhaps 10 miles. Plus, these hotel and resort brands have their own rewards and discounts that you can choose from; as well as using credit card reward points to cash in too. My family and I have stayed off property plenty of times when visiting Disney World. Many of those stays being at StayBridge, Holiday Inn Express and Holiday Inn Orange Lake Resort. Sometimes your budget may not allow you to stay on Disney’s property every time and that is understandable. You and your family can still have a great time off property, get better space and amenities for a much better price.

One of two real disadvantages to staying off property is just that…staying off property. You will constantly have to get in your vehicle and drive to the theme parks. You will have to sit in traffic as everyone else is driving to the theme parks. Traffic coming and going to Disney World is usually rush hour no matter what time you’re driving on I-4, Highway 192 (W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy.), and S. Apopka Vineland Road. Staying off property will require you to pay a $25 parking fee at each theme park you visit; unless you’re visiting multiple parks the same day. One tip: park at Disney Springs and ride the Disney buses to your theme park destination and back. But there will be a wait time between bus arrivals. Now, another way to avoid driving to the theme parks is by using the hotel/resort’s bus transportation. But the downside is that you have to be at the pickup/drop-off location at a certain time, or risk waiting for another one hour or two for the next bus. The second real disadvantage is that when you want to take a breather from the theme parks, you do not have the option to just take a quick ride to your Disney resort and take a nap or a dip in the pool, and then return. When staying off property and you leave, you lose that prime spot in the parking lot and then you have to fight late afternoon/early evening crowds that are returning more well-rested than you.

So there you have it, reasons to either stay on property or stay off property. You have both advantages and disadvantages as stated above. The one and only factor for where you stay will most likely be your budget. Unless you and your family have a real true desire to stay at a Disney resort. Then your decision is already made.

You now have the dates planned and where you’re staying reserved, now let’s talk about getting those tickets next.

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So you decided to visit Walt Disney World, what’s first?

Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom (Courtesy: http://www.disneyplanning.com)

It is no secret that the Walt Disney World Resort is a top vacation destination in the world for families and multi-generational families, newlyweds or married couples, adults, and just about everybody else. Walt Disney World sits on 47 square miles, or about the size of San Francisco, with four theme parks, two water parks, golf courses, Disney Springs (a shopping, eating, and entertainment district), and 34 on property resorts. So yes, Walt Disney World is virtually its own city! As stated in the introduction of this six-part series of “Livin’ the Disney Life!”, where does one start when planning a vacation to Disney World? With so much to offer in terms of places to visit, things to do, and so many other options; planning can be very overwhelming. So let’s start with part one of this series and jump in…

Part one of this series is simply going to help you with doing the initial planning of your vacation to Disney World. The very first question you have to ask yourself is when do you plan to visit? My advice, as well as many other diehard Disney World experts and travel agents will probably tell you to check school calendars. Because when schools are out, the parks will be filled. Holidays also bring out the crowds too. Now in my case, being from South Florida, a 3-hour drive makes it very convenient to visit Disney World any time of the year with no worries about crowds. But knowing that most people are not within a short drive away, it is very important to have a gameplan to maximize the best of your trip. Two very good websites to visit when trying to plan your vacation are Disney Tourist Blog and Touring Plans (paid subscription). These two dedicated websites keep track of crowd levels and offer assistance as to when to visit. But do realize that there really is no off-season at Disney World. Especially considering all the newly opened attractions in the past few years (i.e. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, Pandora-The World of Avatar). There may be periods where crowd levels will be very bearable, which is usually when schools either just started or have just returned from a winter or spring break. One last piece of advice would be to also check Walt Disney World’s ticket pricing calendar. Both Walt Disney World and Disneyland have tier pricing, therefore, depending on when you visit, you may pay more for your tickets. For more information, visit Disney Parks Blog.

So now that you have your dates in mind for when you’re visiting Walt Disney World, the next important step is to decide whether to stay on property or off property.

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What the Dolphins Could Have Been

In the summer of 2006, the Miami Dolphins were in the free agency market of looking for a prized quarterback to take the realms under center. A series of events would alter the life on many people involved with the decision and direction the Dolphins chose that summer. The previous two seasons (2005-2006) before that very important free agency summer, the Dolphins were going through a disaster under former LSU college football head coach Nick Saban. Who in those two seasons compiled a 15-17 record. Afterwards, Saban bolted for the University of Alabama and built one of the best dynasties in college football over the next decade. The Dolphins then put the keys in the hands of Cam Cameron, who was the San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator the previous five seasons. Unfortunately, Cameron’s one and only head coaching season in 2007 was a complete failure with a 1-15 record. The only saving grace from that season was the lone victory over the Baltimore Ravens at home in Week 15 snapping a 13-game losing streak. That victory spared the Dolphins from truly establishing NFL history as they could have been the only team to have both a undefeated AND winless season. After being fired by the Dolphins after one season, Cameron would take the offensive coordinator job with, you guess it, the Baltimore Ravens.

StarTribune.com

But back to the summer of 2006. There were two quarterbacks who were big time free agents on the market, Drew Brees and Daunte Culpepper. Both players had established themselves as perhaps future Hall of Famers heading to Canton. Culpepper had a good run with the Minnesota Vikings and Brees with the San Diego Chargers. However, both of their 2005 seasons ended with injuries. Brees sustained a throwing shoulder injury in the final game that season, and Culpepper suffered a devastating knee injury that tore three of the four major ligaments. Nevertheless, the Dolphins’ team doctors believed there was a slim chance that Brees would be able to still have a very productive career. So therefore the Dolphins settled on Culpepper because it was believed that he could recover from a knee injury and have a successful season and remaining career.

As the saying goes: “hindsight is 20/20”.

Culpepper would sign with the Dolphins for the 2006 season, but would only play in the first four games of the season before being placed on injury reserve with knee problems. He led the Dolphins to a 1-3 record that one and only season with the team. Culpepper would play three more seasons (2007-2009) afterwards with the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions before ultimately retiring from the NFL. During those final three seasons, Culpepper played in 20 games compiling a 2-14 record as a starter. Drew Brees on the other hand, seemingly without a doubt punched his ticket to Canton and can be widely considered as one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. Considering that Brees has a 131-83 record and a Super Bowl championship (2009) since that 2006 free agency decision. Not to mention that Brees now currently holds NFL records for career touchdown passes, career passing yards, and career pass completions to name a few.

In sports, draft picks and free agency decisions fall into two categories: great/good or bust. These decisions that can make or break a franchise for years if the wrong decision is made. As for the Miami Dolphins decision in the summer of 2006 between Daunte Culpepper and Drew Brees; the decision is very, very clear. The course of this franchise and these two players have transcended in polar opposites since that summer. It makes you wonder if the Dolphins would be considered as one of the best teams over the past decade. Perhaps, even perhaps the New England Patriots dynasty with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady might have not seen the light of day. But its all speculation and hindsight now.

Therefore leaving Miami Dolphin fans to only wonder: “What the Dolphins Could Have Been?”

Is Disney+ Worth It?

TechHive.com

It was on November 12, 2019, the day that Disney entered the streaming wars. Many Americans have already started cord-cutting from either their cable or satellite provider, and now many streaming services have benefited from it such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, and Sling. Now, just about everyone else is getting in on streaming as Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Now, AT&T TV Now, Playstation VUE, and a host of other providers. As 2020 is a few weeks away, consumers have ample choices for their viewing pleasure.

My household has not done any cord-cutting as of now, as we are customers of Comcast Xfinity bundle services (TV, Internet, and Phone). I enjoy the services and the reliability that is offered by Comcast, and the Xfinity Stream app is a great way to enjoy TV and movies on the go; although the downside would be that some channels and movies are only available on your home WiFi network. Of all the streaming services available, I only have a subscription to Hulu and that is only because of Sprint, my cellphone provider. I do watch Hulu quite a bit from time to time because of the old school television shows and a great lineup of movies and other shows.

Now if you started following this blog, there is no secret that we (or maybe really me) are huge Disney fans! I was excited about this Disney+ streaming service. I did not join Disney+ the first week it went live though. I waited until the second week to join and let all the kinks and issues be worked out. Signing up is pretty straightforward with two choices: Disney+ or Disney+ bundle that adds Hulu and ESPN+. The regular Disney+ subscription is $6.99/month or $69.99/year with a 7-day free trial. The Disney+ bundle is $12.99/month with no option to do a yearly plan. Having a subscription already with either Hulu or ESPN+ will give you a bundle credit as long as you sign up using the email associated with either service. So for example, having a subscription with Hulu, all I did was sign up for the Disney+ bundle using the email associated with Hulu. After Disney verified that I do indeed have an active Hulu account, I received a $5.99 credit towards the bundle. Total monthly price for my Disney+ bundle subscription: $7.00/mo ($7.94 after tax), so $0.01 cent more than the regular subscription. My advice, get a Hulu subscription first if you don’t have one, then sign up for the Disney+ bundle. A huge benefit with Disney+, you can create up to seven profiles and simultaneously have four screens actively watching at the same time.

Just so you know, there are other specials on Disney+ subscriptions out there. Examples being Verizon Unlimited customers can get a free year, the aforementioned 7-day free trial by Disney, and starting today Delta Skymiles members can get an extended 14-day free trial.

Courtesy of BBC

Watching Disney+ has been like a return to my childhood. There is such a joy of being able to watch those old Disney movies that I grew up with that have been locked away in the vault for many years if not decades. Also having the ability to watch those old Disney cartoons from my childhood too. There is no denying that Disney has a very large library, so anyone and everyone will be able find something to watch every time. Navigating the interface is very easy to use to find what type of show or movie you’re looking for. As for me, The Imagineering Story, has been my favorite to stream since signing up. I highly recommend the series especially if you’re a Disney expert or diehard fan, or just wanted to know more about Walt Disney and how the Disney Parks became what they are today. So now whenever I visit Walt Disney World, I will have an even greater appreciation when entering Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom every time. As I get ready to enjoy a much needed two-week Christmas vacation as an educator, I will definitely dig more into the Disney vault to watch shows, movies, and cartoons. One goal I have set for myself during the break is to watch all the Star Wars movies in the correct order to understand the saga. I never grew up a huge Star Wars fan, but I am well aware of the history and story of the franchise.

Are you a Disney+ subscriber? What has been your hits or misses with the streaming service so far? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Education Hiccups

Becoming a teacher runs in the family. Both my wife and I have education running in our blood. My late grandmother, my aunt, and numerous other aunts, uncles, and cousins who are or were educators. My wife’s mother and sister are educators too. Being an educator is such a rewarding and selfless act in life. There is great pride taken in being able to educate the future leaders of this country and world. Nevertheless, nothing brings more joy in seeing them return to the classroom and visit; and even speak with the current students.

It is no secret that educators are underpaid and underappreciated in this country. As my wife and many others have stated, “If it wasn’t for teachers, who would teach people to do the jobs that they do?” I will admit that being an educator is no easy task in today’s times of 2019, from having state or district assessments, large class sizes, dealing with students’ outrageous attitude and behavior, hidden agendas by both school and district administrations, lack of parental involvement, and the usage of cellphones in the classroom. However, there are many positives to being an educator that are beneficial: teaching and molding the next generation, always an exciting and different day at work, teacher discounts, and extended vacations (Christmas, spring break, and summer).

But with the good, comes the bad or terrible in education. Speaking from my experience as a high school teacher, it is understandable why many educators are burned out or change careers after three years in the classroom. Local school districts and state educational departments are completely sold on assessment tests. I understand that students need to be test to assess their learning ability, but not where it prevents a student from graduating high school. As I have always stated in my classroom, no future college/university or employer is going to ask you what was your FSA Reading, or FSA Writing, or FSA Math level (FSA–Florida State Assessment). Aside from the salary challenges, the workload of educators at times can be very overwhelming especially with class sizes. Having to teach 30-35 students in a classroom is no easy task, no matter how great you are with classroom management. Because when students need help, how does one person make rounds around the classroom to make sure that all students understand and receive attention? It is no secret that the attitudes and behaviors of this generation is an issue. The disrespect, instant gratification, cellphone obsession, and the entitlement without having earned or worked for it. But the worst problem in education today is the lack of parental involvement. As a high school teacher, Open House is attended well, but it should a traffic jam of parents in the hallways. But no, a complete opposite! However, when there is a football game: parents of players, cheerleaders, and band members are out giving 110% support. But the academic side of parental support is completely lacking. Parent conferences are no shows or cancellations, failing grades on progress report cards and/or report cards itself still don’t encourage parents to be concern; but once school administration calls and leaves a message stating that your “angel” is not graduating–What? No one ever told me? What were you doing throughout the school year? Parents also fail their children by dropping them off to school 30+ minutes after school starts, but have time to get them breakfast from McDonald’s, Starbucks, and even Waffle House. Another failure of parents would be the calling and texting to their child(ren) while in school. Now I’m not saying a parent should not have contact with their child, but there is a time and a place. But parents make it an issue when we as teachers say “no phones” in class. Let’s just say that there is plenty of blame to go around with the hiccups in education.

This will be an ongoing blog for open discussion about the issues and problems in today’s education. Although I am a veteran educator, I do agree that some teachers do not need to call themselves teachers or be in the classroom. So there will be some transparency within this blog.

Lastly, I am currently writing a book that will address many of these topics and issues will be discussed in this blog. The book is entitled, The Miseducation of the Negro 3.0. The availability of this e-book will be late 2020. At times, excerpts from this e-book will made availability throughout 2020. Stay tuned for updates.

Feel free to offer suggestions or your own educator issues down in the comment section below.