It’s an issue that just won’t go away. Last year, we noted in this space that lawmakers in North Carolina were among legislators in several states debating a proposals requiring cursive writing be taught in their public schools.
This year, it’s the Tennessee General Assembly that is grappling with the issue. The state House of Representatives is expected to take up floor debate tonight on HB1697, which would require all public school students in Tennessee to learn how to read and write in cursive by the third grade.
State Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, told The (Nashville) Tennessean she sponsored the legislation after being told children today can’t read handwritten notes from their teachers and parents.
The legislation has come under scrutiny from some lawmakers who fear the popularity of the bill might make it a vehicle for other school reforms. The Tennessean reported last week that state House Education Committee Chairman Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville, even asked Butt to pledge that she’d prevent any attempts to add other initiatives to her bill.
Some lawmakers fear the legislation could be used to weaken Gov. Bill Haslam’s Common Core standards.
Although Common Core standards do not specifically address cursive writing, some public schools have decided 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 educators say makes sense because the new tests are to be taken on computers. In an age of texting, some believe cursive writing has become antiquated.
Some teachers, however, say they are not ready to junk their cursive writing exercise books. They have even urged lawmakers in their states to require cursive writing remain a part of the public school curriculum.
We’d like to hear from you on this subject. Should Tennessee legislators pass a law requiring that cursive writing continues to be taught in schools?
Send your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717 Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification.
We will print your responses in the coming weeks.