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Should students learn cursive? Some states say yes

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  • Should students learn cursive? Some states say yes

    The swirling lines from Linden Bateman's pen have been conscripted into a national fight to keep cursive writing in American classrooms.

    Cursive. Penmanship. Handwriting.

    In years gone by, it helped distinguish the literate from the illiterate.

    But now, in the digital age, people are increasingly communicating by computer and smartphone. No handwritten signature necessary.

    Call it a sign of the times. When the new Common Core educational standards were crafted, penmanship classes were dropped. But at least seven of the 45 states that adopted the standards are fighting to restore the cursive instruction.

    THE ARGUMENT FOR CURSIVE

    "Modern research indicates that more areas of the human brain are engaged when children use cursive handwriting than when they keyboard," said Bateman, who handwrites 125 ornate letters each year. "We're not thinking this through. It's beyond belief to me that states have allowed cursive to slip from the standards."

    WHY WAS IT DROPPED?

    State leaders who developed the Common Core — a set of preferred K-12 course offerings for public schools — omitted cursive for a host of reasons, including an increasing need for children in a digital-heavy age to master computer keyboarding and evidence that even most adults use some hybrid of classic cursive and print in everyday life.

    "If you just stop and think for a second about what are the sorts of skills that people are likely to be using in the future, it's much more likely that keyboarding will help students succeed in careers and in school than it is that cursive will," said Morgan Polikoff, an assistant professor of K-12 policy and leadership at the University of Southern California.

    THE MOVEMENT TO HAVE TEACHING CURSIVE RESTORED

    States that adopted Common Core aren't precluded from deviating from the standards. But in the world of education, where classroom time is limited and performance stakes are high, optional offerings tend to get sidelined in favor of what's required.

    That's why at least seven states — California, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Utah — have moved to keep the cursive requirement. Legislation passed in North Carolina and elsewhere couples cursive with memorization of multiplication tables as twin "back to basics" mandates.

    Cursive advocates cite recent brain science that indicates the fluid motion employed when writing script enhances hand-eye coordination and develops fine motor skills, in turn promoting reading, writing and cognition skills.

    They further argue that scholars of the future will lose the ability to interpret valuable cultural resources — historical documents, ancestors' letters and journals, handwritten scholarship — if they can't read cursive. If they can't write it, how will they communicate from unwired settings like summer camp or the battlefield?

    "The Constitution of the United States is written in cursive. Think about that," Bateman said.


    More at Link


    I never realized that schools had stopped teaching cursive until six years ago when I started volunteering at our elementary school. I have to say, when I write my signature it's a mix of cursive and printing.
    May we raise children who love the unloved things - the dandelion, the worm, the spiderlings.
    Children who sense the rose needs the thorn and run into rainswept days the same way they turn towards the sun...
    And when they're grown and someone has to speak for those who have no voice,
    may they draw upon that wilder bond, those days of tending tender things and be the one.

  • #2
    In seventh grade, my teach said, "David, I cannot read your handwriting. I want you to go back to printing." My handwriting was pretty atrocious. I forgot how to write cursive decades ago. That caused a minor problem at the MEPS station when I enlisted, as I had to write something -- some kind of affirmation; don't really recall what -- and printing was NOT allowed. Dood had an example, so I just went off of that.

    My signature is printed, but the letters aren't separate from each other.
    “I do not aim with my hand; he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
    I aim with my eye.

    "I do not shoot with my hand; he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
    I shoot with my mind.

    "I do not kill with my gun; he who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father.
    I kill with my heart.”

    The Gunslinger Creed, Stephen King, The Dark Tower

    Comment


    • #3
      I used to have good cursive writing abilities but must admit that with the advent of computers, it has pretty much hit the crapper.
      I wrote something out recently and was disgusted the way it turned out, even after the third attempt, but felt that it needed the "personal touch" that only cursive writing can give.
      Somehow Arial 12 just does not always cut it.
      We are so fucked.

      Comment


      • #4
        Cursive is a form of art. I have no problem with having kids learn how to read and write it, but I absolutely abhor the hours and hours spent on one particular style (usually just the style the teacher has) when everyone ends up with their own anyway. I don't think I've written more than one or two sentences of cursive in over 20 years, and those were just greeting cards.
        "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

        -John Locke

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        • #5
          The only purpose for cursive writing is to learn how to sign your own name. JMO.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by scott View Post
            Cursive is a form of art. I have no problem with having kids learn how to read and write it, but I absolutely abhor the hours and hours spent on one particular style (usually just the style the teacher has) when everyone ends up with their own anyway. I don't think I've written more than one or two sentences of cursive in over 20 years, and those were just greeting cards.
            I agree with you and I still want cursive taught in the public schools. If it isn't, it will be taught in the private schools and it will become a class marker or private language of the elite. Like Muffy, Biff, and I don't already have one...
            The year's at the spring
            And day's at the morn;
            Morning's at seven;
            The hill-side's dew-pearled;
            The lark's on the wing;
            The snail's on the thorn:
            God's in his heaven—
            All's right with the world!

            Comment


            • #7
              Everything Nova said. . .Private schools and home schoolers will be the only ones left knowing this. Nope.

              ~Dallas

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Dallas View Post
                Everything Nova said. . .Private schools and home schoolers will be the only ones left knowing this. Nope.

                ~Dallas
                I am one of 2 senior attorneys in our office (the other being the guy whose firm it is). The senior attorneys write notes in cursive. Not pure Palmer script, but handwriting, not printing. Our newest attorney always takes notes when I instruct her, even if she sees me writing my instructions out. Based on the questions she asks when she comes back to me for additional guidance, I suspect she's covering up the fact that she can't read cursive. She's very bright, but there are still enough of us who write long-hand that she's going to have problems for at least a few more years.
                "Think as I think," said a man,
                "Or you are abominably wicked;
                You are a toad."
                And after I had thought of it,
                I said: "I will, then, be a toad." - Stephen Crane

                Comment


                • #9
                  Cursive is an important code for transmitting knowledge. If you can't read it, you can't directly access a lot of important information in Western civilization. You have to rely on second hand accounts. That's crazy.

                  Hand writing (whether cursive or not) is a critically important element in learning. Keyboarding doesn't light up important areas of the brain when it comes to memory and retention. Kids need to use a lot of tactile elements to encourage memory and handwriting is part of that.

                  Even for math, I long ago realized that students who laboriously hand wrote problems and solutions did better than students who keyboarded the same stuff. I didn't know why 15 years ago but I knew it was true. Now we have some science for it.
                  "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
                    Cursive is an important code for transmitting knowledge. If you can't read it, you can't directly access a lot of important information in Western civilization. You have to rely on second hand accounts. That's crazy.

                    Hand writing (whether cursive or not) is a critically important element in learning. Keyboarding doesn't light up important areas of the brain when it comes to memory and retention. Kids need to use a lot of tactile elements to encourage memory and handwriting is part of that.

                    Even for math, I long ago realized that students who laboriously hand wrote problems and solutions did better than students who keyboarded the same stuff. I didn't know why 15 years ago but I knew it was true. Now we have some science for it.
                    And yet programmers who can't type always fail.

                    Which is the future for our kids, past manuscripts or current interfaces?
                    "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

                    -John Locke

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by scott View Post
                      And yet programmers who can't type always fail.

                      Which is the future for our kids, past manuscripts or current interfaces?
                      99% of kids will never program jack. I don't care about those kids since they will sink or swim on their own.

                      I care about the kids who won't be able to get through nursing school or do a radiological internship or understand a mining permit or become engineering techs. Those kids, I care about them a lot.
                      "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
                        99% of kids will never program jack. I don't care about those kids since they will sink or swim on their own.

                        I care about the kids who won't be able to get through nursing school or do a radiological internship or understand a mining permit or become engineering techs. Those kids, I care about them a lot.
                        99% of the kids will never be in any of those mentioned fields either. But almost all of the kids will have to use a variant of the current computer, and the most widely used interface for it is a keyboard. Nobody missed out because they know how to type, but they miss out on LOTS if they don't. The same can't be said for cursive.
                        "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

                        -John Locke

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by scott View Post
                          99% of the kids will never be in any of those mentioned fields either. But almost all of the kids will have to use a variant of the current computer, and the most widely used interface for it is a keyboard. Nobody missed out because they know how to type, but they miss out on LOTS if they don't. The same can't be said for cursive.
                          I actually think both should be taught, and in this day and age the kids are way ahead of us on the keyboarding anyway.

                          I made my brother take typing in high school, even though it wasn't required and it was pre-computer era. I was a great typist (even went to a state competition for it...major geek that I was) and by the time he entered high school, I was making a lot of money typing papers for all the guys that couldn't type at all. I knew he wouldn't be able to afford to pay for the typing.

                          But I agree with Ginger, that cursive is also important. Like dictation, it's faster than printing, but it also speaks a bit to the personality of the writer. It's personal, it takes a certain amount of thought, and connects the writing with the personality of the author. It saddens me that it's no longer being taught. Mine is horrendous these days, due to my lack of use, however I frequently have to hand write Orders in Court. I love to see the cursive writing of a person who is older than 60 that went to parochial school. It truly is an art form when done properly.
                          Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
                          Robert Southwell, S.J.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by phillygirl View Post
                            I actually think both should be taught, and in this day and age the kids are way ahead of us on the keyboarding anyway.

                            I made my brother take typing in high school, even though it wasn't required and it was pre-computer era. I was a great typist (even went to a state competition for it...major geek that I was) and by the time he entered high school, I was making a lot of money typing papers for all the guys that couldn't type at all. I knew he wouldn't be able to afford to pay for the typing.

                            But I agree with Ginger, that cursive is also important. Like dictation, it's faster than printing, but it also speaks a bit to the personality of the writer. It's personal, it takes a certain amount of thought, and connects the writing with the personality of the author. It saddens me that it's no longer being taught. Mine is horrendous these days, due to my lack of use, however I frequently have to hand write Orders in Court. I love to see the cursive writing of a person who is older than 60 that went to parochial school. It truly is an art form when done properly.
                            I've said that I think every kid should learn cursive, but I think typing should the more time.

                            We don't read classics in cursive, we read them in type. The prose conveys the personality of the writer much more than the imagery - unless you're saying one must be both Shakespeare and Michelangelo.
                            "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

                            -John Locke

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by scott View Post
                              I've said that I think every kid should learn cursive, but I think typing should the more time.
                              Typing is one class. Kids are on keyboards enough these days that they pretty much don't need more training than that. It's as natural to them as printing is for us.

                              We don't read classics in cursive, we read them in type. The prose conveys the personality of the writer much more than the imagery - unless you're saying one must be both Shakespeare and Michelangelo.
                              I'm not talking about authors. I'm talking about every day people. It's just another facet of expression, that's all.
                              Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
                              Robert Southwell, S.J.

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