Cursive no longer being taught in schools

Madi Dobbs, Contributing Writer

Due to new standards in Common Core academics, educators are concerned about overlooked loss of progress in cursive handwriting. Since Common Core standards do not require cursive instruction but leave it up to the individual states and districts to decide whether they want to teach it, many public schools are more likely to drop it or at least de-emphasize it. Since 2010, 45 states have carried out the Common Core standards and over 41 states do not require public schools to teach cursive writing. Common Core is unsaid on cursive, but it chooses computer use and keyboarding skills because its tests are taken on computers. Even before Common Core many schools had already narrowed their courses mostly to the subjects being tested by their states.

Kate Dando, a spokeswoman for the Council of Chief State School Officers, which promotes the Common Core said “The Common Core State Standards allow communities and teachers to make decisions at the local level about to teach reading and writing . . . so they can teach cursive if they think it’s what their students need.”

While many states have carried out the Common Core, there are still some who are trying to save cursive writing. California, Georgia and Massachusetts all have laws mandating cursive instruction and earlier this year, several bills were presented to the state legislatures in North and South Carolina, Indiana and Idaho authorizing cursive instruction. Experts have said cursive handwriting training helps small children develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and other brain and memory functions. There are some experts that say nice handwriting can lead to better grades. According to a 2006 College Board report, SATs written in cursive received a slightly higher score that those written in print, but only 15% were written in cursive.

Although most public schools are dropping cursive, a large percentage of private schools still incorporate this teaching in their curriculum. Nearly all Catholic schools continue to focus on penmanship but many admit they have less time to focus heavily on the subject. Even educators who like cursive indecisive about whether or not it should still be taught.