Should Cursive Handwriting be Mandatory

cursive

Today Show article that started this debate:

Last week, elementary school students returned to the classroom in Archdale, N.C., with a new subject on the mandatory agenda: cursive writing. It’s a debate that has been simmering among experts, parents and teachers all summer, with some arguing that, in a digital age, mandatory cursive instruction is a step backwards while others believe it’s a long-held cultural tradition worth preserving.

Signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory in June, the State’s “Back to Basics” bill requires all North Carolina public schools to teach cursive (as well as memorization of the multiplication tables), and that students are able to create “readable documents” in “legible cursive handwriting” by the end of fifth grade. The national Common Core Standards do not include handwriting, so the 45 states that have adopted the curriculum so far are free to pass legislation that requires cursive.

It all started with a field trip to the capital from a group of fourth graders in her district, recalls state Rep. Patricia Hurley, co-sponsor of the “Back To Basics” bill. A few weeks after the visit, she received a manila envelope of thank you notes and noticed that all of the children had printed theirs, while the teacher had used cursive.

“It struck me as strange that they were not writing,” Hurley says, equating “writing” with the use of cursive. “It was like these kids weren’t educated. I mean, this isn’t hieroglyphics we’re talking about.”

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My son is in the seventh grade and has yet to actually have a teacher teach him cursive handwriting.  He has never even attempted to write it in school.  I asked his third grade teacher why that is and her response was “The state has told us that kids today do not need cursive handwriting.”  At which I responded “How will they sign their names?”  She just told me she understood the concern and agrees with me but that her hands are tied with the curriculum.  She must teach what she is told to teach.

Here’s the thing.  Children have to have a signature.  They cannot use a keyboard for every single signature required of them throughout life.  When was the last time you signed an application for a job, loan, or lease on a keyboard?  It simply does not happen.  So this is a huge debate being waged online today.  Apparently there are those that believe that cursive is archaic and has no business in schools.  While there are those, like me, that believe that at the very least a child should be taught a signature.  Then there are those that believe it should be standard across the board.  They should be sitting doing the countless hours of practice that we all did.  Where do you fall?

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2 Comments

  1. I had to learn to write in cursive, but unless I write painfully slowly it looks disgusting, and if I write at a normal speed it’s still pretty bad. I’ve written ‘not-joined-up’ since secondary school when I was allowed to choose how I wrote and my handwriting is much nicer that way – so perhaps it’s good to be taught, but not to be forced to write in a way that makes you uncomfortable. 🙂

    • All I want is for my son to have a signature. His handwriting is barely legible normally so I am sure cursive would be worse. It’s an interesting debate, none the less.

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