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Cursive Is Regaining Popularity in U.S. Schools

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Following years of being left off of many elementary school curriculums, cursive handwriting is starting to resurface. As the Associated Press reports, public schools across the U.S. are making lessons in writing loopy, unbroken longhand a requirement.

It wasn't so long ago that learning cursive was considered a grade school rite of passage. But since the start of the new millennium, students have traded in their contraband gel pens for smartphones and transitioned to the digital world. Teachers have also switched focus from handwriting to typing. In recent years, schools in many states have abandoned the old-fashioned writing style in favor of courses on “keyboard proficiency.”

But something has shifted: In 2016, Alabama and Louisiana passed laws implementing cursive in all public schools. They joined 12 additional states with similar laws mandating proficiency in traditional script. One of the most encouraging signs for the future of handwriting happened in fall 2016, when the New York City public school system, the largest in America, recommended their teachers introduce students to cursive writing in the third grade.

New York State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis told the AP that cursive became an issue for her following a voter registration event she attended. After asking an 18-year-old to sign his name, she watched him spell it out in print, the only way he knew how to write by hand.

In addition to teaching kids how to sign their own names, those in the pro-cursive camp say the skill has other uses. Pre-computer era documents, such as letters written by an ancestor or a founding father, require a familiarity with cursive to read. Opponents, on the other hand, say that teaching cursive presents unnecessary hurdles to kids learning to read and write. And as a 2016 article from Nautilus pointed out, there’s virtually no research suggesting that cursive has any cognitive benefits.

Whether or not it's useful, some students in New York City at least seem to appreciate it. Third-grader Camille Santos told the AP that cursive is "actually like doodling a little bit." Senior Emily Ma said, "It's definitely not necessary but I think it's, like, cool to have it.”

[h/t U.S. News]

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The 25 Toughest Colleges to Get Into in 2018
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As many students from the class of 2018 look forward to college, the next year's seniors are gearing up for the application process. The school and neighborhood analysis tool Niche has broken down which universities are the most competitive in 2018.

To compile the list below, Niche pulled data from the U.S. Department of Education on college acceptance rates and the SAT/ACT test scores of enrollees. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Harvard University, one of the oldest and most prestigious colleges in the U.S., ranked No.1 with an acceptance rate of 5 percent and an SAT range of 1430 to 1600 points. Right below that is California's Stanford University, also with an acceptance rate of 5 percent and a slightly lower SAT range of 1380 to 1580. Yale University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the California Institute of Technology round out the top five.

America's best schools don't always come with the highest tuition. According to Niche, the average cost to attend Harvard after financial aid is $16,205 per year. The most expensive school on the list is Harvey Mudd in California in 14th place with a net price of $35,460.

Check out the full list below.

1. Harvard University // Cambridge, Massachusetts
2. Stanford University // Stanford, California
3. Yale University // New Haven, Connecticut
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology // Cambridge, Massachusetts
5. California Institute of Technology // Pasadena, California
6. Princeton University // Princeton, New Jersey
7. University of Chicago // Chicago
8. Columbia University // New York
9. Vanderbilt University // Nashville, Tennessee
10. Brown University // Providence, Rhode Island
11. University of Pennsylvania // Philadelphia
12. Duke University // Durham, North Carolina
13. Dartmouth College // Hanover, New Hampshire
14. Harvey Mudd College // Claremont, California
15. Pomona College // Claremont, California
16. Northwestern University // Evanston, Illinois
17. Rice University // Houston, Texas
18. Johns Hopkins University // Baltimore, Maryland
19. Swarthmore College // Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
20. Claremont McKenna College // Claremont, California
21. Washington University in St. Louis // St. Louis, Missouri
22. Cornell University // Ithaca, New York
23. Amherst College // Amherst, Massachusetts
24. Bowdoin College // Brunswick, Maine
25. Tufts University // Medford, Massachusetts

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The 25 Most In-Demand Job Skills Right Now, According to LinkedIn
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Looking for a new job? Depending on what line of work you’re in, you may want to brush up on your technical skills—or learn some new ones. LinkedIn recently released a list of the 25 most desirable skills for 2018, and it’s clear that many employers are on the lookout for people with experience in computing, web development, and software and data engineering.

LinkedIn analyzed data from its member base of more than 500 million people to determine which skills are most needed by employers, according to Business Insider. The thousands of individual skills that can be found across member profiles were grouped into overarching categories (iOS, for instance, would go under the mobile development umbrella). Next, LinkedIn analyzed hiring and recruiting activity during an eight-month span and “identified the skill categories that belonged to members who were more likely to start a new role within a company and receive interest from companies.”

Here’s the full list:

1. Cloud and Distributed Computing
2. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
3. Middleware and Integration Software
4. Web Architecture and Development Framework
5. User Interface Design
6. Software Revision Control Systems
7. Data Presentation
8. SEO/SEM Marketing
9. Mobile Development
10. Network and Information Security
11. Marketing Campaign Management
12. Data Engineering and Data Warehousing
13. Storage Systems and Management
14. Electronic and Electrical Engineering
15. Algorithm Design
16. Perl, Python, and Ruby
17. Shell Scripting Languages
18. Mac, Linux, and Unix Systems
19. Java Development
20. Business Intelligence
21. Software QA and User Testing
22. Virtualization
23. Automotive Services, Parts and Design
24. Economics
25. Database Management and Software

Many of these skills can be learned from the comfort of your home via online classes that are available on platforms like Udemy, Coursera, edX, and Lynda. While it couldn’t hurt to know these hard skills, 57 percent of business leaders surveyed by LinkedIn said soft skills are even more important. Those tend to be more universal across careers, with leadership, communication, collaboration, and time management being identified as the most crucial soft skills to have in 2018.

If you’re ready to start learning a new skill but don’t know where to start, check out this list of 25 ways to learn a new skill quickly.

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