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Should cursive writing still be taught in school?

Staff Report • Aug 19, 2013 at 11:46 AM

We’ve received a number of letters to Forum in recent weeks outlining the possible benefits of the new Common Core, as well as listing the likely hazards of the new education standards. We are sure more comments will be coming as Common Core is put into place.A new talking point in the Common Core debate has surfaced, however, one that has captured the attention readers of this page several times before. USA Today reported last week the new standards could mean cursive writing will no longer be taught in public schools.The paper noted that while Common Core standards are “silent” on cursive instruction, many public schools might decide to stop teaching it. As many as 41 states no longer require local schools to teach cursive writing.Common Core places a priority on computer use and keyboarding skills, which makes sense because the new tests are to be taken on computers. In this age of texting, many educators say cursive writing has become as antiquated as quill pens and inkwells. When the College Board introduced a written essay section on the SAT for the class of 2006, 15 percent of the approximately 1.5 million students who took the test wrote in cursive. The other 85 percent printed.Still, it may be too early to write an obituary for a handwriting style that has frustrated students, teachers and parents for decades. While computers have replaced pencil and paper in terms of communication, some teachers say they are not ready to junk their cursive writing exercise books.State lawmakers and pencil and paper suppliers are also weighing into the debate. Several bills have been introduced into the state legislatures of North Carolina, Indiana and Idaho mandating cursive instruction. USA Today reports some of those bills were supported by companies that sell writing materials.We’d like to hear from you on this subject. Is cursive writing still a necessary skill that should be taught in public schools?Send your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717 Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or mailbag@johnsoncitypress.com. Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification.We will print your responses on the Opinion pages in the coming weeks.

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