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As difficult as it may seem in an era where seventh graders have cell phones and tots have pretend PDAs, most grade schools still insist on the school pencils you remember. Web sites of grade schools all over the US specifically state, “No mechanical pencils, please.” Artist pencils? Yes. Carpenter pencils? Hmmm, possibly. Mechanical pencils? Out. Why, in a high-tech world, are schools making a fuss over pencils? Does it matter? The basic, plain pencil we all grew up with works just as well.