Threats to Popcorn; Coffee a Health Food? ET Phones Home; Black Elk Peak; In Other Words; Pay Gap for Teaching Grows


The Center for Food Safety Reports Threat to Popcorn

Bees fertilize popcorn plants and some bees may die as a result of ingesting neonic insecticides. Of the 40 or so insecticides used on corn, 3 contain bee-killing neonics. The Center for Food Safety recommends   consumers buy USDA certified organic popcorn. For consumers who wish to purchase microwave popcorn, choose an organic brand such as Newman's Own. To read more about chemical threats in snack food treats, click on Additional information may be found at     and   includes a list of companies which sell organic, pesticide-free popcorn. Good snacking.

Coffee Is a Health Food?

Apparently, drinking coffee provides drinkers with a 65% lower risk of dementia occurring in later life.   Individuals who drank 3 to 5 cups of coffee daily also reduced their risk of stroke by 22 to 25 percent. Who knew? Studies of cardiovascular risk factors indicated successful diet and lifestyle choices included drinking coffee. To read more about medical studies that encourage latte' consumption, surf over to Drinking more than 5 cups of coffee daily does not improve health. Just saying.

ET.   Phones Home

A ESA, European Space Agency, tracking station recently reported receiving a signal from the Cassini space craft now orbiting Saturn. The transmission traveled 1.4 billion kilometers from Saturn to Earth. The radio signals traveled at light speed and took over 80 minutes to arrive at the tracking station. To find out more about this topic, click on

Feds Rename Highest Peak in South Dakota After Lakota Medicine Man

The United States Board on Geographic Place Names recently renamed Harney Peak, the highest mountain in the Black Hills, in South Dakota after an Oglala Lakota elder, Black Elk. The highest mountain east of the Rockies was originally named after General William Harney, an infamous U.S. army general who slaughtered 86 women and children during an encounter with Lakota tribe members in the Black Hills War of 1854. The Lakota have since referred to General Harney as 'Woman Killer.' The board voted 12 – 0 with one abstention to change the name to Black Elk Peak. To learn more about the significance of the action, click on The state of South Dakota earlier rejected the request from Basil Brave Heart, an elder of the Oglala Lakota Nation to rename the peak. South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, observed that few South Dakotans supported the name chance. But the Feds supported Brave Heart's contention that naming this mountain after a white general who committed an atrocity placed a racist stain on the history of Native American – United States Government relations.

Students Need to Learn Paraphrasing Says National Center for Literacy Education

In a  blog, Sarah Tantillo argues that teaching students to paraphrase leads to greater student understanding of written material. Tantillo says that all subject matter teachers should teach the skill. Paraphrasing prepares students to ask more meaningful questions of the material as well as to draw inferences from the subject matter. To learn more about this skill, click on

Why Teach? An Economic Question

Since the 1990s teacher salaries have fallen when compared to salaries paid to employees having similar education and experience in other fields. EPI, Economic Policy Institute, reports that over the last quarter century, salaries for teachers have declined 17.0 % overall when compared to salaries paid to employees with similar education and experience. The pay gap for male teachers is larger than the gap for female teachers: 24.5% for males compared to 13.9% for women. The situation is worse for teachers who are not in unions. That gap totals 25.5 percent.

As teacher shortages increase in STEM classrooms, more and more individuals able to teach elect instead to find employment in higher paying jobs in fields other than teaching. The teacher shortage in Utah is severe enough that the state legislature recently approved legislation that permits school districts to hire people without certification or experience of any kind to teach in hard to staff fields such as math and science. To read more about this story, click on This gap has not always existed. In 1960, for example, female teachers were paid 14.7 % more than similar workers with the same education and experience. Teaching is not a poorly paid   religious vocation.   And individuals with families to support gravitate to higher paying professions. To attract qualified teachers, you have to pay them. Additional information may be found at  And so it goes.