A press release reporting that Indiana is the latest state to drop the cursive handwriting requirement from its curriculum has even been picked up by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corp) in the U.K The controversy over teaching handwriting in our schools continues, and is sparking the attention of educators and parents world wide.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative, the purpose of which is to “ensure consistency in US education,” makes no mention of cursive handwriting, although it states that students have to learn the basic typing skills that education officials say are more useful in the modern employment world.
Dropping the teaching of handwriting from schools is a move, officials say, makes sense in a computerized world. Children from grade 6 – 12 are expected, by the Standards, to “demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting”. And many schools say there simply is not enough time to teach both handwriting, and computer skills.
Dr Scott Hamilton, an Indiana clinical psychologist, said the time children spend laboring over script could be better used.
Denna Renbarger, an education official in Lawrence Township, Indiana, said there were many more important things for students to be learning at school, and said, “I think it’s progressive of our state to be ahead of this.”
But the BBC reports that some parents, teachers and psychologists “have reacted angrily to the move,” saying there is more to handwriting than being able to write quickly.
“The fluidity of cursive allows for gains in spelling and a better tie to what they are reading and comprehending through stories and through literature,” Paul Sullivan, head teacher of a school in California, told CNN. “I think there’s a firmer connection of wiring between the brain’s processes of learning these skills and the actual practice of writing.”
Parent Jerry Long told the Indianapolis Star he was worried about what the new system could mean for his sixth grade daughter in the future. “I don’t agree with it. How are they supposed to know how to sign their names?”
As the controversy continues, there’s no doubt that people will continue handwriting – be it in cursive or by printing – long into the future. As much as I love ergonomic pens, you know what I think! What do you think? I welcome your comments below.