With cursive instruction already on the decline, the newest editions of Common Core State Standards, a set of national goals for public schools, do not require that students learn cursive.
Some people think that makes perfect sense, as keyboards now dominate communication and handwriting is arguably becoming obsolete. Some teachers find teaching cursive to be a painstaking endeavor that bears little real world skills, and takes time from more important parts of the curriculum. But others think that cursive still has a viable place in a grade school curriculum.
Some argue that learning cursive is a practical matter, as cursive and handwriting styles are more efficient than printed letters. They argue that kids who master cursive will turn out to be faster writers on essays and placement tests and therefore more able to focus on content rather than process. Another argument is that learning cursive actually stimulates a part of the brain that improves motor skills.
The state senate in North Carolina agreed that cursive is important, and earlier this year passed a bill making it required learning in schools. Was this a good precedent to set, or should teachers let cursive fall by the wayside?
Morgan Polikoff, Assistant Professor of Education at USC’s Rossier School of Education
Kathleen Wright, National Handwriting Program Manager for Zaner Bloser, a publisher of Language Arts materials for elementary schools