The prelimary model will be shared with teachers, principals, and other education professionals before the board considers the final policy in October.
Though there’s been a shift to the computer keyboard in culture and in the classroom, education officials took up the matter after a bill sponsored by Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, unexpectedly won widespread support at the Tennessee General Assembly this spring, eventually landing on Gov. Bill Haslam’s desk for his signature.
The law loosely requires its instruction “at the appropriate grade level,” leaving that determination to the department of education.
Under the proposed standards, students would be expected to show they can write “many” upper- and lowercase in cursive at the end of second grade, demonstrate mastery in all letters at the end of third grade and write legibly in cursive at the end of fourth grade.
Emily Barton, assistant commissioner of curriculum and instruction at the department of education, said the timeline for cursive came after reviewing laws in other states and research. Previous cursive standards in Tennessee lacked performance indicators.
“We looked to Tennessee educators to weigh in on the question of, ‘What would work best in our state?’” Barton said.
How teachers incorporate cursive in their curriculum will be up to them and their schools. Tennessee has similar standards for writing in print/manuscript and using the keyboard.