Holy Script! Some Schools Aren't Going to Teach Kids to Write in Cursive. Is This Crazy?

By the time our kids grow up, they might not be writing in cursive. If they need to sign a check, a birthday card, or their marriage license, it's gonna have to be in print because they may not learn script in school.

Indiana is the latest state that no longer requires cursive handwriting. (Kids will start keyboarding in elementary school instead). It’s part of a growing list of states that have cut cursive out of the curriculum.

The reasoning? Everyone uses the computer these days, and if they hand write something, block printing will suffice.

Moms on Facebook have been posting in shock. “Cursive no longer required in our schools. What's next, math?” wrote Leigh Canlis, mom to a toddler in Seattle, which no longer requires cursive. “The arts are gone and anything that makes a kid sweat. What's left? Fake strawberry milk. Our future is based on this?”

While some of her friends agreed with her, citing the importance of formal hand-written thank you notes, others understand the schools making this decision. “The only thing I ever write is a handwritten thank you and my cursive is so bad that I print so others can read it,” said Heidi Skupien Bretz. “There is a side of me that thinks learning cursive might be a little like learning to use an abacus. I am trying to think of a profession where knowing cursive writing would really be necessary and I can't think of one. I'm 48 and I don't ever exercise my cursive skills...will an 8-year-old ever need it?”

Those who think cursive should still be taught cite many other reasons: the personality that shows through in one’s handwriting, like how you curl your Qs; the value of realizing that it’s worth it to take time to complete something you’ve handwritten; the discipline and fine motor control that comes with penmanship; the need to sign a check or official document; the ability to read historic documents in their original form or heck, your grandparents’ love letters.

Experts such as Steve Graham, a Vanderbilt University professor who has surveyed teachers about how much handwriting they teach, told The Seattle Times that all the fuss about cursive overshadows the more important issue of how well students write — such as their ability to analyze and persuade. So perhaps that's what we should be focusing on instead -- and then maybe they can persuade us to believe that writing isn't actually necessary.

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