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The Spill: Literally Literacy

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Handwriting Is Literally Important for Literacy – And Other Things!

Writing is something that we do every day to communicate our feelings, wants, and needs. But these days, most young people are texting, typing on keyboards when taking tests, and not writing as well as students who are required to learn and use handwriting skills. And experts say it is time to get back to learning how to write and use a pen and paper.

National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) in Australia found a trend that kids are entering into high school unable to write coherently and consistently. A study of students reveals a decline since 2011 in “in the writing scores of Grade 7 students at a national level.” Further alarming to educators, it “also showed the lowest scores across the four domains assessed – reading, writing, language conventions and numeracy – in Grade 9.”

Dr. Anabela Malpique, a university professor, is asking young people to take a break from phones and other devices to focus on writing skills and “develop their hand and eye coordination.” Malpique also warns this is a problem worldwide – not just in Australia. The country has deemed handwriting so bad that a new subset of tutoring has popped up: Handwriting coaches. One such instructor, Ella Losi, claims a significant number of clients are at the college level. And handwritten exams were being deemed “unreadable.”

So, dust off that pencil box, pull out a piece of notebook paper, and practice, practice, practice.

Myanmar – What’s Going On?

Myanmar, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is on the front page of international news. A military coup recently upended the nation’s elected government. The South-east Asian country (previously known as Burma) held its national elections in November of 2020. The National League for Democracy (NLD) won a decisive victory over the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). In a country rife with allegations of human rights abuse and “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya minority, the success seemed to start a new democracy for the citizens. But tensions began to boil between the two different political parties.

On February 1, a military coup d’état removed recent victors and proclaimed a national emergency. The military claimed there had been election fraud. Myanmar Army leadership installed Myint Swe, the former “army-appointed vice president, as the President.”

Myint Swe then gave up his power to the country’s highest-ranking military leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

A recent interview with a 25-year-old in the city of Rangoon exposed what people are feeling: “Waking up to learn your world has been completely turned upside down overnight was not a new feeling, but a feeling that I thought that we had moved on from, and one that I never thought we’d be forced to feel again.”

Rigors of The Position of Vice President

Vice President Kamala Harris

The vice president’s job in the United States isn’t just showing up representing the president and the nation at state dinners and funerals. The role is also called into play when the United States Senate has come to a standstill in a crucial vote. When there is a 50-50 tie in the Senate, the vice president has the duty of stepping in to break the tie.

The Senate’s balance is now evenly split with 50 Democrats (including Independents who support the Democrats) and 50 Republicans. They recently vowed to share power peacefully. However, Vice President Kamala Harris was called to cast the tie-breaking vote when it came to passing a COVID relief bill. Harris gave the Democrats a win, voting to advance the bill. She also cast a vote on the budget.

With the Senate evenly divided between two political parties, the vice president may be called in many more times to cast the final vote on whether a new law passes.

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