School Drops Cursive From Curriculum: What's Next?


kids writingAm I the only one who thinks it's a bad thing that Indiana schools will no longer be teaching kids how to write in cursive starting this fall? I get the logic behind the change: Nobody writes in cursive anymore (or "script," as we called it in my day), and kids would be better off spending the time perfecting their keyboard technique than learning how to make a fancy capital "G."

The thing is, people do still need to write, you know, like with pens and pencils, on paper and greeting cards and, I don't know, shopping lists. I guess a working knowledge of how to print is sufficient for those purposes, but isn't anybody going to sign their freaking name anymore?

It's not so much the loss of the art of cursive that bothers me, it's the general shortcut-taking trend in education right now. Take spelling, for example. Maybe it's the ex-Catholic schoolgirl in me, but I find it absolutely atrocious that kids these days have no idea how to spell, and it's not their fault at all: The phonetic spelling technique used by most schools currently is completely useless.

Instead of drilling kids on the actual spelling of words, students are told to "sound it out" and parents are told NOT to correct misspellings. That would be fine if the English language weren't filled with inconsistencies and exceptions to phonetic rules, but it is: How is a kid supposed to know if "phone" starts with an "f" or a "ph" if he's just "sounding it out"? And don't even get me started on the ubiquitous Everyday Math curriculum that makes basic tasks like multiplication ridiculously complicated (though it's supposed to be making it "simple." It was simple before!).

I'm not anti-tech in any way, and nobody's ever accused me of being old-fashioned. I just think that in our misguided quest to make education more efficient, we're actually shortchanging our kids. I'm afraid they'll be left with too few academic blocks to build a decent foundation.

What do you think of Indiana's new no-cursive policy?

Image via Alexandratx/Flickr

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I think it's just awful. All of the old letters from my grandma and historical documents and things from the past that will soon be obsolete breaks my heart. I'm in MN and they haven't "taught" it from 3rd grade on in a a few years already.

Littl... LittleManMama

I don't think the loss of cursive is necessarily such a bad thing. But I agree that exclusively using phonics without correction is not the best way.

Momto... Momtohalfdzn

Personally, I homeschool and the thought of teaching them to write in cursive seems like a HUGE waste of our time.  Like your article says, they are better served learning to type or keyboard than anything else.  I don't think it's shortcut learning at all.  I think it's progressive learning and why would we need to teach something that's fallen by the wayside?  The point of schooling a child is to teach them the skills they need to know in order to step into society and being a functioning adult and prepare them for college.  They won't need cursive but will need to know to type and have computer skills.  Oh and my children learn phonics and spelling.  Phonics is NOT a waste of time at all.  Some children need it and others do not which is why I'm very glad I can teach according to my children's needs and not worry about the way the school system says they should be taught.

Times change and we need to be flexible and change with them or be left behind but that's not to say that old fashioned ways of learning are completely outdated.  I think you just have to find a good middle ground.

nonmember avatar Alli

I completely agree. I look at old letters from my grandparents and think, "wow, no one can write like this anymore." It's so sad! I'm only 21, and in high school I knew lots of kids who couldn't write in cursive. I learned in 3rd grade, but kids from other schools didn't, I guess. I know a lot of people my age who, when asked to sign their name, just print it. And don't get me started on spelling. Spend any time on the internet, and you will see how atrocious spelling has become. In college and high school, the other kids would ask before a test, "uh, is spelling going to count?" Usually, the teacher said no!! It just doesn't matter anymore, I guess, now that we have spell check.

Mymys... Mymys_Mommy

Why does cursive have to be sacrificed?  I read an article once about how 2 young ladies ran across their grandmother's old letters and had no clue what it said.  They couldn't even read cursive.  I love cursive, it's so pretty.  When I write things out, I use a mixture of print and cursive.  I especially love how the letter J looks in cursive (odd I know, but it is my favorite letter).  That letter was the one letter I emphasized most in my signature, because I always thought it looked so pretty.  Such a shame the younger generation will lose such a beautiful skill.

mleil... mleilanim

I didn't even read the whole are definitely not wrong. I learned cursive in 1st grade (1986) & asked how come my son didn't when he was in 1st grade (2006). In Hillsborough County FL they learn in 4th grade....Hey at least they're taught it I thought. Cursive is a NECESSITY in life. If you don't know how to sign your name how can you sign your lease, your mortgage deed, your checks, your childs emergency card, etc. Thisendless endless. Indiana......PLEASE DON'T BE JUST THE BEGINNING but moreso please be the beginning of the end of state ignorance.

meatb... meatball77

Kids need to learn to type.  They will be at a major disadvantage if they can't type over their peers.  Writing is so much easier once you can type well enough to do it right into a word processing program as opposed to when you write it by hand first and then have to totally rewrite as you edit.

Kids need to learn to read cursive and they need to spend some time making sure their print is legible.  But they don't need to spend time working on cursive when they could be working on something more important (like math or history or science).  Kids who like handwriting will teach themselves (just as they teach themselves to bubble letters ect) and linking letters together isn't really a skill that needs to be taught, most will do it naturally if they have the inclination to.

meatb... meatball77

How is cursive a necessity?  One can easily decide how to create their own signature without spending hours copying.

For the most part people would perfer that you print because it's more clear.  Even the best handwriting isn't clear when it's cursive.  Most professors will not allow work to be handed in cursive.

Mymys... Mymys_Mommy

Oh, one of my biggest pet peeves is misspellings.  Does it really take that long to teach people how to spell correctly?  Worst of all is when people use the wrong word.  Do they teach about homophones anymore?  It drives me crazy seeing someone write "their" instead of "there" or "they're", and so forth.

zandh... zandhmom2

I only write in cursive.  My husband only writes in print.  I prefer cursive, it's easier on my wrist when I am writing a long letter to someone ( I know, no one really does that anymore) but I have older Aunts who only write letters in long hand and that's how I reply.  And as far as spelling goes, I HATE how kids spell these days...they all sound dumb.

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