While it’s hard to imagine a future without cursive writing, where signatures are written in block print, those days may be straight ahead.
Alabama is distinguishing itself as among only a few states that will continue to keep cursive writing in its public school curriculum.
Parents, historians and educators throughout the United States are voicing their concern about the omission of the writing style in the Common Core Curriculum adopted in 46 states, which indicates cursive writing is no longer a skill needed to succeed in the world.
Alabama signed onto the overall curriculum, but officials there say elementary schools will find a way to continue to work in cursive writing training.
In an opinion piece for The New Yorker, Judith Thurman argues that cursive writing may not be viewed as pertinent to today’s society in the minds of those who created the Common Core Curriculum, but plays a key role in reflecting on the past.
“A knowledge of cursive writing may not be ‘relevant’ to the modern world, but it is essential to a visceral sense of the past, and an ability to examine the literature, correspondence, and history contained in original documents,” said Thurman in the article.
The Alabama State Board of Education seems to agree with Thurman. The board elected to include the cursive writing technique within the 15 percent share of the standards dictated by each individual state.
The state Board of Education says the standards are mostly guidelines for what should be instructed in the classroom and aren’t necessarily concrete.
“Alabama teachers are able to customize and teach skills they feel are needed for their students as well,” said Malissa Valdes-Hubert, public information manager with the Alabama Department of Education.
In other states that have adopted the Common Core Curriculum, cursive writing is expected to be removed from the classroom and replaced with training in typing skills unless deemed otherwise by the state.
How the removal of cursive will change future generations for now is up in the air. However, those who disapprove say it’s not just a form of communication students will be lacking.
“Learning cursive isn’t simply about knowing how to write efficiently. It’s about learning how to write beautifully. It’s about fine motor skills. It’s about expression,” said Audrey Watters in an article for PBS.
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