Do Kids Still Need To Learn Cursive?

write

“When the new Common Core educational standards were crafted, penmanship classes were dropped,” reports the Associated Press. “But at least seven of the 45 states that adopted the standards are fighting to restore the cursive instruction.”

The Common Core standards is a controversy in its own right, but what about teaching kids cursive specifically? Is it still needed?

Before we enrolled my daughter in kindergarten this year we talked with her teacher who told us about handwriting. Our daughter would be taught the basics, how to put down letters, words and sentences on a paper neatly and efficiently, but that handwriting really wasn’t that big of a priority.

I agreed with the teacher. I think students ought to be taught a functional form of handwriting, but cursive seems more style than function. Where it may have served a purpose in the past when handwriting was a much more important form of communication, in the present most communication takes place via a keyboard of some sort.

At a time when, as education spending soars, we’re already struggling with academic achievement in our schools do we really need to be focused on stylized handwriting?

I don’t think so. Not any more than horse riding lessons should be a part of a school’s curriculum.

Though this, yet again, is an argument for decentralized education policy and school choice. How I feel about handwriting, as a parent, is most definitely not how all parents feel about handwriting. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, instead of top-down decisions on curriculum, parents could pick and choose among schools offering varying education priorities? Empowered in their choices by a school voucher?

Education would be a far less contentious issue, and schools/teachers would better serve their communities, if school choice allowed matter such as whether or not cursive should be taught to be settled through choice not pitched battles in the political arena.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • justahick

    I agree, cursive is a waste of time.

  • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

    If only someone had been smart enough to establish competition among various government subdivisions of the country. If they had done that some of these subdivisions would innovate good solutions while others would not. The good solutions could be emulated by the failing subdivisions and we’d have the best chance for good government.

    The alternative is to issue everything from the Kremlin or Louvre or some multistate conference.

    If only someone had been that smart.

  • Yuna Braska

    Rob so hates education that he’d sooner prefer we did our John Hancock like Queequeg.

    • Justasmalltowngirl

      Proposition: Teach kids to write fast shorthand, which may or may not involve cursive. That way, kids can write faster without learning an outdated writing style.

      Proposition 2: Teach kids to type fast, and to take care of technology. Your computer could crash, but you can easily get in the habit of regularly saving your documents. And you could put flash drives in a safer place than in the back pocket of your favorite jeans.

      We’re at the advent of a new technological age, so shouldn’t we look at ways to fit our education system to this age in order to better prepare our kids for the real world.

      • Yuna Braska

        Neither makes the case that we shouldn’t teach cursive… unless you believe teaching typing is somehow mutually exclusive from teaching write… one can only learn one or the other.

        But such is not actually the case.

        • Matthew Hawkins

          In 5 years there will be no scientific student taking hand written notes.

          They will be using tablets and there will be apps that will find benzene faster than you can draw it.

          This is a good thing, it is more efficient.

          • PK

            We should just have microchips in our brains so we can just think our notes onto external devices. Much easier.

          • Yuna Braska

            20 years ago, they said the same thing.

            If it happens… great… but it hasn’t yet.

          • JoeMN

            Yet there will still be demand for those who design the tablet, write the app, and run the corporation that creates them.
            And perhaps among their many skills will be the ability to write in cursive.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      People learn differently. I did very well in school, but I never took a lot of notes. What notes I did take I printed, because that’s how I’m most comfortable writing.

      These days I type notes, because that’s even faster than handwriting.

      • Yuna Braska

        I you think having less skills is better why?

    • Vakota

      I think you’re missing the point! It’s NOT that Mr. Port may or may not like cursive. It’s that we should have a choice in what is taught in schools. Education should be a community effort involving the parent’s input. It should Not be a top down approach where the federal government mandates school curriculum. The subject of ‘cursive vs print’ was merely being used as an example. That being said, I also only write in print. In fact, in my industry (mechanical design, engineering and drafting) every one I know writes in print; Not that cursive doesn’t have it’s place. Though NO matter what side of the cursive argument you are on, it should be a parent’s decision what is taught to their children.

      • Yuna Braska

        Choice is not a point.

        It’s a red herring. A strawman argument. Because nobody is actually trying to preclude the ability of schools to design their curriculum…. except… ironically… people like Rob, who simply want to dictate what should and shouldn’t be taught based upon his personal beliefs.

        If choice were actually the point, then the current situation would be some sort autocratic situation in which nobody has any say in what is and isn’t taught, but such is not the case.

        More to the actual point, this is a broader debate about penmanship itself, including printing,… and schools arguing if they should teach even that. Many simply want to replace pens with keyboards entirely.

        This tired choice red herring and ironic attempt to wrest as much from the schools, ostensibly by the perceived community at large, is bogus because the community should not have some sort of absolutist authority to dictate what’s taught in schools and what is not. That’s is the role of administrators, who then answer to the community. That assessment should be made by professionals in the field and based upon the society’s expectations (“my baby’s gotta get into college”) weighed with respect to the needs of the children (that kid really needs to be able to do math if he’s ever going to so much as run a cash register).

        If choice were the absolutist case you all ironically believe is what it’s about, teachers would never have the time to teach the basics, reading, writing and math, and to an extent that is already a bit of a problem. We’re already trying to do too much in our schools… bully awareness, good touch/bad touch, proper nutrition, not to mention all manner of political contentious activism….

        Not everyone needs it, but cursive is, without much controversy, an undeniable asset for taking notes… even if you all are willing to have tax-payers buy a computer for every single kid who can’t afford it a lap top, and replace those laptops with the upgraded versions when necessary You can’t whip out your lap top when you’re on an ecology field-trip, knee-deep in tidal flat muck, with your professor showing you some critter laying eggs on eel grass. But you can write down the knowledge his imparting with a pencil and notebook. You can’t whip out your lap top while walking along with your art history professor touring the Smithsonian.You can’t whip out a lap top when you’re out at some remote weather station, recording the gauges and personal descriptions of conditions in a 30 below wind chills…. LOL

        I just remembered a personal experience… It was about 20 below, and we were trying to survey this area for a report. We had all this fancy water-proofed equipment and meters, and were collecting our samples… only everything, including our calculators, had liquid crystal displays and batteries.

        Nothing was working right.

        We found some old-school equipment in the lockers below, allowing us to gauge environmental factors the old fashioned way, and I happened to have a cool old slide ruler I picked up at a garage sale and was using as a bookmark. I didn’t have a clue how to use the slide ruler, but my professor had seen, curiously examined and commented on it previously when he saw it sticking out of my book. He taught us how to use it to do our calculations without the calculators.

        Also, I taught freshmen in college… a cohort of kids who, in that state, ranked near the bottom in their standardized testing. To put it bluntly, they were writing exactly like they text: “b/c u r :-) <3"…. a cryptic and transitory form of communication which would not be assuaged by just focusing on their typing skills…. as this is actually them typing too. This level of writing skill is not conducive to elaboration and detail.

        • Vakota

          You’ve made a great argument for why writing should be taught but it is not specific to cursive. However, if it’s truly about choice, then why not make it an ‘elective’ class. Then if the child and/or the parents want to learn cursive, it’s available to them. I have stated previously that in my field we write in print and,in fact, I rarely write in cursive, however, for me and my house, we will learn cursive. Since so many important documents are written in cursive, I want my children to be able to read those documents. But not everyone agrees with me. So to make them learn something they feel is unnecessary defies the very documents to which I refer. The bottom line is that it IS about choice. The federal government has NO authority to mandate anything in classrooms. Those decisions are up the to schools and parents and perhaps the individual states, but NOT the federal government.

          • Yuna Braska

            You’re just repeating the strawman argument…only with caps lock this time.

            The argument is pen vs. keyboard: should one or the other or both be compulsory skills. Like I said before, there is no logical reason to reject a diversity of skills in favor of fewer skills….hence idioms like “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”… which is why you have to change the argument with so many redherrings and strawman arguments. The argument is not choice, not big bad government mandate, not what turned out to be unnecessary in hindsight… because…. wait for it…

            NOBODY is actually arguing to the contrary. The opponents of your choice argument are imaginary.

            The argument is do we need these hand-writing skills enough to justify keeping them compulsory. Vapidly asserting an unsupported belief that the evil bad government must not mandate what happens in class rooms… or this paranoid false dilemna in which making something complosury for the kids somehow legally precludes parents from having a say about what is or isn’t compulsory… This foolishness does absolutely nothing to answer the actual question of whether or not hand-writing is valuable enough to keep as a compulsory skill.

            It’s particularly irrelevant/red herring in light of the fact that people do in fact have choice not only in that their school administrators have to answer to them, but at the level above it all too: Homeschooling vs. classrooms.

            What I hear every time the “choice” redherring is vapidly invoked isn’t just a false dilemma paranoid delusion, that moronic belief that making things compulsory for kids is somehow mutually exclusive with their parents having a say about what or isn’t compulsory (it’s not… hence irrelevant red-herring false dilemma)… what I think I’m really hearing is a rejection of government standards: a rejection of society’s expectation about our children having learned a given skill proficiently by a given age.

            People, more or less, feel much of what they learned was unnecessary. Some say math is unnecessary too, for the same reason writing is supposedly unnecessary; we have computers to do it. But, this is fallaciously backwards thinking. The argument needs to be with respect to the future, not hind sight, and absent a crystal ball, nobody really knows what skills they’re going to need in the future, in advance of needing those skills.

            Back to the actual argument: Simply put, not only is writing indispensable to note taking later on in high school and college, at least for the students who are excelling, but it’s also far more efficient and cost-effective in early grade school than the alternative. Not only are computers, soft-ware and printers expensive, and rapidly out-dated, but the teachers are going to have her hands full not only managing all the equipment, but also teaching the kids how to not only read and write, but also teaching them how to use the equipment.

            Far easier and cheaper to hand them a pencil and paper, and just dive right into the lesson with no further fuss.

          • Vakota

            The title of the article is: Do Kids Still Need To Learn cursive?
            So the argument is Not pen vs keyboard. No one is saying we shouldn’t teach handwriting. The question posed here is strictly reserved to whether cursive should be compulsory. I’m am making the argument that since so many are opposed to cursive being mandatory, make cursive an elective, ie choice.

          • Yuna Braska

            “So the argument is Not pen vs keyboard.”

            By virtue of Rob’s headline you would restrict what my arguments and the actual arguments really are?

            LOL

            Neither you nor Rob knows what’s going on, and what the people who are actually debating this issue are saying.

            As I said before, this talk of using key-boards instead is, in no uncertain terms, actually more broadly an argument against hand writing in general. But there are three basic opinions/arguments right now: 1) eliminate cursive entirely now that it’s not mandatory, 2) some employ the same arguments such that penmanship (i.e. printing) should also not be mandatory anymore, just an elective 3) and some argue that we should get rid of all handwriting/penmanship curriculum.

            In other words, the mandatory cursive debate is already long over.

            “No one is saying we shouldn’t teach handwriting.”

            LOL

            Here’s one right here: “The argument is that cursive is time-consuming and not as useful as the keyboard skills students will need as they move on to junior high and high school, he says.”

            http://abcnews.go.com/US/end-cursive/story?id=12749517

            By invoking the use of keyboards, he’s actually talking about replacing handwriting, even though he conflates it all with cursive.

            Here’s another one…
            “In New York, some schools are considering cutting it ["penmanship"] altogether. Deb Fitzgerald, a second-grade teacher at Van Schaick Elementary in Cohoes, told CBS 6 Albany that she’d rather “move on” and focus class time on other topics.”

            “…so many are opposed to cursive being mandatory, make cursive an elective, ie choice”

            o_O

            Again.. you have no idea what’s going on or what you’re talking about.

            Except in a few hold-out states, cursive is not mandatory. Over forty states have omitted it from their compulsory curriculum.

            Now that it’s not mandatory, the debate has moved on and is about getting rid of cursive entirely, if not penmanship too, not making cursive “voluntary/elective/choice”. Many argue that it’s a waste of time and resources to teach it at all.

            The people in your apparent anti-cursive camp are actually arguing for fewer choices… the direction is getting rid of it as an option.. not making it an elective.

      • borborygmi45

        Can you read cursive? Should children be taught to read cursive? If you want complete control of what is taught to your children you will have to home school.

  • Neiman

    There are many things in education that seem out of date and in our cyber world perhaps cursive writing is no longer mandatory to communicate with others; yet, surely to learn to appreciate the beauty of language in poetry and in private expression in cursive writing, like many other things we consider dead, are exactly those things needed to produce a well rounded, sensitive human being. Does a thank you note printed as well as the giver’s name, carry the same message as a hand written message, well thought out with an investment in time and effort?

    Who knows for sure, but I might suggest that we lose something when we cannot express our feelings in the written word. I recall the sensitive, beautiful words of the earlier centuries, where the common folk could produce soaring thoughts that moved the souls of men. If parents see no value in such things, fine let the states and school districts decide, but I think cursive writing takes effort to be readable and when done well has greater spiritual value than anything printed.

    • JoeMN

      Who knows for sure, but I might suggest that we lose something when we cannot express our feelings in the written word.

      ______
      To me, not all forms of expression are created equal
      Such is the case with instant text messaging.

      For example;
      TU
      Versus……

      • Neiman

        There is, to me, something greatly beneficial in receiving a note, a card or a letter that someone took the time and effort to pen in cursive writing. It means they were thoughtful and cared about the person they were writing. When they worked hard to develop readable cursive writing skills and want to share their feelings in that more laborious effort, it adds meaning and value.

        Of course, I am old, time has passed me by and so my thoughts on the matter are old fashioned, out of date.

        • borborygmi45

          I agree with you and most likely close to you age. Language, spelling and writing are ever changing and unfortunately beauty and grace have become obsolete. TU…JoeMn …ugh.

          • Neiman

            Miley Cyrus is representative for what passes as beauty and grace today.

        • banjo kid

          Lost art is inexcusable and to stop teaching cursive writing would also be inexcusable. I am almost certain there are a few liberal political ideas that are being crammed into our children’s heads that could be done away with with a better investment of time and money . I would love to have a good hand when writing, but I slept while the cursive class was in progress .

          • Neiman

            I am not for forcing school districts to mandate cursive writing, I believe in local control of education. Yet, I too think it is soon to be a lost art and that we are diminished in various ways by that loss.

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      I’d rather read a poem in print than a poem in crappy cursive.

      • Neiman

        Well, well I guess you are no hunter – because in every case under this thread you have missed the target points of those defending cursive writing completely.

        There is effort and time in mastering cursive writing and that labor of the heart and mind adds beauty and meaning to what is being communicated. In school that extra effort aids in retention and helps in mastery of a subject. If you do not understand the value of a written thank you note or in a greeting card or a personal letter or seeing a beautiful poem thus conveyed, you are placing mechanics ahead of art, you are promoting soulless communications in place of truly personal communications.

        I am disappointed in you.

        • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

          If you do not understand the value of a written thank you note or in a
          greeting card or a personal letter or seeing a beautiful poem thus
          conveyed, you are placing mechanics ahead of art, you are promoting
          soulless communications in place of truly personal communications.

          I would say that you are putting the mechanics ahead of the person. So if someone with poor handwriting skills gives a sincere thank you it doesn’t count?

          Calligraphy is a worthwhile skill, but not everyone has it and I hardly would judge someone’s overall worth on whether they had that skill or not.

          • Neiman

            A. No one said everyone must master the skill, just commenting that they felt that it still should be taught and kept in the curriculum. Just think of how it molds character to have to master difficult skills, how it broadens their world view.

            B. No one judged anyone’s over all worth, that is quite the liberal extremism of you.
            C. The truly great people of this world in times past generally endured and mastered old skills and it added to their base of knowledge, ability to communicate and their personal traits.

            You are becoming quite the tolerant progressive there Whistler.

          • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

            1) It’s an archaic skill that never was very useful. Many people would write faster and be more easily read if they wrote in print.

            Some people came upon handwriting well easily. Other’s didn’t. I don’t see any point in making people struggle over a skill that doesn’t need to be learned. Perhaps it should be done along the lines of art class. Some have it, others don’t but all students get some exposure.

            b. You seemed to say that a well written thank you note was special. I think that a sincere thank you is just as important as one from someone with penmenship skills.

            c. I would hardly consider cursive writing a necessary skill in this day and age. Better to teach the kids to write in another way and love writing than struggling making your e’s not look like your l’s.

          • Neiman

            We disagree and I am right and you are wrong na . . na . . na . . na! :)

            It is odd that you would think someone having mastered this skill and that is willing to take the extra time and effort to say thank you is equal to someone rapidly hitting keys on a keyboard or just saying “hey thanks man.” So the effort and artistry do not impress hard hearted old Whistler.

          • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

            I think that for the most part those with good handwriting probably learned it easily. I don’t see how that makes them better than others that didn’t have those fine motor skills.

          • Neiman

            I think for the most part those that have good handwriting skills had good teachers, were pushed to perform handwriting drills and just worked hard, a lost American trait that last. In the meantime I also think handwritten homework and study notes increases information retention and understanding of the subjects under study.

            I could be wrong, but that is such a distant possibility that it alone would border on the miraculous!

          • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

            I doubt it. The same kids that excelled in math and science and sucked in handwriting didn’t fail in the latter due to a lack of effort. They worked hard where they had a skill set, but fine motor skills are there or they aren’t.

            Some kids learn by writing information by hand, some don’t. I don’t see how there’s any advantage to the former by printing or writing in cursive.

            Kids are different and we need to teach them in the way that they learn, not the way the education establishment used to do it.

          • Neiman

            Oh you doubting Thomas – I am right – you are wrong so there, I win.

          • Neiman

            By the way, you are a big poopy-head! Don’t flag that!

          • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

            I know you are but what am I.

        • Vakota

          “you are placing mechanics ahead of art”

          I do put mechanics ahead of art. A bridge’s first duty is to allow travelers to cross safely. The fact that it is beautiful is secondary.

          But I am glad there are those who defend beauty.
          We all have our strengths and the world needs both kinds of people.
          Practical and beautiful

    • ellinas1

      Bravo! Well said. Bravo again and again, for art is timeless.
      I might add that calligraphy improves patience, precision, concentration and….who knows what else.
      A lot of people admire calligraphy……..very few appreciate chicken scribbles, and most people complain about the undecipherable writing of doctors.

  • kevindf

    Keyboard skills are more important these days.

    • Matthew Hawkins

      Just choose the cursive font.

    • banjo kid

      Art class would be a great place to learn cursive and it would not be outside that realm . I remember that we only studied cursive writing one or two years at the most they passed you by if you leaned it or did not learn it . the higher grades did not have cursive writing .

  • Broadway Joe

    speaking from a person that struggles with Cursive my first reaction is to get rid of it, but one has to wonder what will happen to kids when they can not read the original documents from the founding fathers. My mother used to write letters to me in very fine cursive and when I shared those with my son he struggles at best to read them. Are we losing our history?

    • Margy Froelich

      Yes we are.. part of the dumbing down of America

      • Drain52

        It makes me wonder. Aren’t we becoming a little too dependent on gizmos and gadgets? First some educators say we shouldn’t teach any math to run-of-the-mill students, because calculators can do the figuring for them. Now some say we shouldn’t teach them how to write with their own hands.

        Some wag is sure to remark that I argue for Flintstonian hammer and chisel on rock writing. Not quite, but it’s disturbing to think of new generations being unable to function without their gadgets.

    • borborygmi45

      Very good point. Do the founding documents become obsolete because they can’t be read or do they become suspect because the future generations have to trust someone who says he has interpreted the cursive writing . Tomorrows hieroglyphs?

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      Reading cursive and spending hours in a fruitless attempt to write “like a girl” are two different skills.

  • headward

    Still teach them it because reading it is a pain. Other than that, it’s a dead writing style. Printing is easier to read and faster for me. People get sloppy when writing cursive like it’s some race to the end while having every word touching. It’s a # away from being a hashtag.

  • Margy Froelich

    Yes like the native American language if it isn’t used it will be forgotten, History needs to be taught as well. Most high school children do not know the pledge of allegiance to the flag. So many of our traditions and values are just going away. Someone has to care.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I’m not sure comparing cursive to a Native American language is apt. Obviously, we want to preserve NA language as a part of history. But I don’t think we need to teach those languages to every 3rd grader any more than we need to teach them cursive.

      • Broadway Joe

        So when your grand kids want to know what the constitution states they will be dependent on someone’s interpretation or they can also be convinced that the constitution is a living breathing document that doesn’t have relevance. First step is to stop teaching the style it is written in and next point at it and declare that since the “people” can’t read it’s words it is no longer valid…..

        Ok maybe a little over the top but you get my point..I hope

        • Vakota

          Excellent point!

        • borborygmi45

          Not over the top at all

        • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

          You do realize the the beauty of the constitution isn’t in the calligraphy it’s in the ideals and principles of the founders who wrote it.

          • Broadway Joe

            Correct but when we can no longer read the principles and or idea and we become reliant on someone else to interpret those ideas for us, we lose that first person connection…. Granted most kids nor adults will read the constitution but I don’t want someone else telling me what is written.

        • Matthew Hawkins

          You do understand that cursive is not a language, right?

          • Broadway Joe

            never said it was did I?

          • Vakota

            Mostly true. It’s not a language strictly but a form. Still, you do have to study it to understand it.

      • borborygmi45

        Do you feel the the children should be able to read cursive at the very least?

      • awfulorv

        California apparently thinks so, a few years ago they were teaching K-12 in 37 different languages. Appalling, but true…

      • Margy Froelich

        my point was trying to be that language isn’t used it is forgotten by the young people, I heard that to preserve the native American language because it has not been passed down only a few know how to speak it, it will be the same as our written language if it is not used it will be forgotten.

  • JoeMN

    Cursive writing is another tool which may come in handy when there is no keyboard around.

    However technology allows them to do more with two thumbs.

    A few occupations which may still employ cursive writing

    http://woman.thenest.com/professions-require-cursive-22599.html

    But at least we have Common Core to decide these things for us.

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      In those cases printing is a better skill. It’s much less likely to be an illegible scrawl.

      “A few occupations which may still employ cursive writing”

      Doctors writing prescriptions come to mind.

  • PK

    I find it quite ridiculous to not teach cursive. It’s a lovely way to write and many people still use it. How can we rob the next generation of such a skill that is so easily taught in elementary school?

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      It’s not lovely for everyone. It’s a skill that many don’t have the fine motor skills to learn correctly. Of course it’s best to pin these 3rd graders writing up on the teachers door so that the future doctors can be made fun of.

      • PK

        I’m sorry you struggle with cursive, but you’re a small minority. It would be a shame to deprive everyone else of the ability because few aren’t as good at it. I can’t imagine there could be an elementary writing class without cursive.

        • Matthew Hawkins

          Teach the keyboard. Much more useful.

          • PK

            That would be in computer class, not “writing class“.

  • two_amber_lamps

    Liberals would love to get rid of cursive, would give them more time to start sex education classes at earlier ages. If you’re going to debase young minds, gotta start early.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    I write mostly in cursive, but that’s because it’s comfortable to me.

    As an educator, I see a lot of value in hand writing material (but notice I didn’t say cursive). Writing engages more of the brain than typing, and thus promotes retention and forces the student to think more. Since I teach science and math, I know that typing notes would be a nightmare anyway.

    I want my students to write. I don’t much care if it’s cursive or printed.

    As for the argument about reading older documents: I read a Bible that is translated from its original language. I can’t read Beowulf in its original form. Language and its tools change. Right now, cursive gets in more kids’ way than it does to help them.

    But, to be clear, nowhere do the Common Core standards forbid cursive. This is a choice left to the local school district.

    ETA: to be clear, I don’t much care if cursive is taught or not. The act of writing is the important part.

    • JoeMN

      But, to be clear, nowhere do the Common Core standards forbid cursive. This is a choice left to the local school district.
      _____
      Teachers will teach to the tests

      It’s the path of least resistance.

      • Waski_the_Squirrel

        This is the exact argument that unions have used to oppose accountability for years. Now that an accountability system has emerged, many on the right are joining the union side.

        By the way: if teachers were teaching to the tests, our nation’s schools wouldn’t be performing so badly on those tests.

        As for testing cursive: what form? Zaner-Bloser? Palmer? an Italic hand? Spencerian? one of the lesser known forms? Should taxpayers pay to have it hand scored? (It would have to be.) Better to leave this decision local.

        • JoeMN

          What’s fascinating is that the unions SUPPORT Common Core, even though they resist the testing

          http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2013/04/time_for_teacher_unions_to_hop.html
          Or maybe it’s the money.

          • JoeMN

            BTW
            If cursive has gone by the wayside, perhaps art and music won’t be far behind ?

          • PK

            Yes, those are all about “style” with no “function” too, so let’s get rid of them.

          • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

            I know you hate the electric guitar.

            Art and music are fine, but expecting all kids to excel or even show any talent in them is foolish.

            I certainly got more out of being exposed to art appreciation than I did in making art.

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      Good point.

  • borborygmi45

    If they don’t know how to write cursive they better learn how to read cursive.

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      That’s true during the transitional period.

  • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

    Millions of kids, mostly boys, struggled to write cursive legibly. The fact that they never were able to write correctly had very little to do with their ultimate success. In fact I think in many cases they would have been better off printing from the get go.

    Cursive can be beautiful, but mine isn’t and it’s going to be less important now that electronic media is so pervasive.

  • Zog

    Many families have drawers full of hand-written heirloom papers (letters from long-dead relatives, diaries, baptismal or marriage certificates etc.) If future generations can’t read them, they become just so much waste paper.

  • Bman

    Let’s see…The original Constitution is written in cursive writting…so of course they want to drop cursive writing from schools! Can’t have kids being able to read the Bill of Rights and all..

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      Do you really think that it’s that hard to make out the letters in cursive?

      • Bman

        Personally, no. I don’t. But then again, I can read and write in cursive.

        • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

          I went to an image of the Magna Carta which is 700 years old. Although obviously I can’t read the Latin it’s written in I can easily make out the script and the word “London.” In fact you can make out a million fonts on your computer even though you don’t know how to write them.

  • ardis

    Kids should definitely be taught cursive. I wrote a not to my grandson, 14 at the time and he had no idea what it said!! What if some day in the future kids find a handwritten note from their grandparents, or so on and can not read it?? What is the harm to teach cursive? Maybe teach it on one of those many “so called teacher’s work days” , which is a total waste of the school year!!!

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      You should have texted him. I wouldn’t write my hypothetical as of yet grandchildren in cursive because not even I can read it.

      Actually I think this points out a bigger issue than just teaching cursive. Kids aren’t going to use it after they’re taught. So even if you grandson was taught cursive, and I guess he had, he probably is unfamiliar with it.

      • Ardis

        He was never taught cursive, the schools in Colorado do not teach it. I think that is a bad mistake.

  • Prairie Dweller

    I am divided on this: yes, I learned cursive and still use it, mostly when signing something. But I suppose it is destined to eventually go the way of the runic writing, and only a few scholars will be able to decipher the millions of hand-written letters stored in people’s drawers, closets and attics. It could become a business opportunity in the future. Runic writing has not been used for centuries, but, like Egyptian or Mayan hieroglyphics, it can still be deciphered. That’s probably where cursive is going, eventually.

  • Hugo de la Rosa

    Cursive writing is completely useless. I print and so do most people I know. It’s faster and clearer.

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