Cursive writing faces an uncertain future in schools

Posted on Thursday, 8/22/2013 9:56 AM

In recent years, there have been many changes to the American education sector - especially in the 45 states that have fully adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Beyond the more rigorous standards, technological developments, as well as collegiate and work expectations are also influencing what educators teach in their classrooms.

For example, not too long ago, learning how to write in cursive was a regular part of students' academic careers. Now, however, the future of cursive instruction is uncertain, as the CCSS does not consider this form of writing to be an essential skill. As a result, many students may complete their K-12 experience not knowing how to write in this particular style.

Changing expectations
The CCSS are clear, consistent and aligned with college and work expectations, according to their website. Through them, educators know which skills and information students need to master by the time they earn their high school diploma. Under the Common Core, instructors will dedicate more time to fewer topics, rather than trying to cover a variety of information in a short period of time. This means school districts will have to make changes to their schedules that allow enough time to focus on instruction deemed essential.

With technology being as prevalent as it is in colleges and companies nationwide, K-12 students must be comfortable using computers, student software and electronic gadgets. Cursive writing, however, is not something people use a lot these days. In a world where it takes seconds to write an email and instantly receive a response, not too many individuals are writing physical letters in cursive.

Different views
As is to be expected, educators, parents and students all have their own opinions on whether cursive instruction should be required in states that have adopted the CCSS. For example, Elizabeth Lucas, whose daughter attends Copperview Elementary School in Utah, does not see a need for students to learn about this form of writing, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

"I have to think there is limited time in the school day, and given that, there are better things they could do with that time," Lucas told the news source.

Suzanne Asherson, a national presenter for Handwriting Without Tears, a teacher handwriting program, sees the value in students learning about cursive, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"Cursive is about connections, not the slant," Asherson told the news outlet. "It's not calligraphy. It's functional. Cursive is faster and more efficient than print. When a child knows the mechanics of forming letters in cursive, they can better focus on their content."

Then, there is 6-year-old Sasha Moore, a Copperview first-grader who is eager to learn cursive writing, even if her state is unsure of whether they will require it. The pupil told The Salt Lake Tribune that she grew up watching her older siblings write in cursive and has been practicing her swoops and loops.

"I want to be smart when I grow up," Sasha said, referring to how learning cursive would benefit her.








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