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Some states preserve penmanship despite tech gains

Some states have added a cursive writing requirement to the Common Core standards, while most others have left it as optional for school districts.

The pen might not be as mighty as the keyboard these days, but California and a handful of states are not giving up on handwriting entirely.

Bucking a growing trend of eliminating cursive writing from elementary school curriculums or making it optional, California is among the states keeping longhand as a third-grade staple.

The state’s posture on penmanship is not likely to undercut its place at the leading edge of technology, but it has teachers and students divided over the value of learning flowing script and looping signatures in an age of touch pads and mobile devices.

Some see it as a waste of time, an anachronism in a digitized society where even signatures are electronic, but others see it as necessary so kids can hone fine motor skills, reinforce literacy, and develop their own unique stamp of identity.

The debate comes as 45 states move toward adopting national Common Core standards in 2014 for English and math that don’t include cursive writing, but require proficiency in computer keyboarding by the time pupils exit elementary school.

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Comment:

  1. cnealon

    November 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    In an increasingly technological society, penmanship is not as important as in the past, but it certainly still has a prominent space in the classroom and is a vital skill. Humans are drawn towards writing as evidenced by murals and cave drawings that pre-date recorded history. No matter how technologically advanced our society may become, the ability to write/draw will never be outdated.
    Learning to write in print and cursive not only develops fine motor skills, but it also opens up a child’s mind to an exciting world of creativity. All children are drawn to arts and crafts, but more advanced artwork emerges alongside burgeoning penmanship. Writing simply offers a chance for individualization and self-esteem that might be jeopardized if penmanship it ousted from schools.
    You may never have to use cursive, but familiarity with the script is certainly not disadvantageous. It’s a safe bet that technology is the future, but the future is uncertain. The ability to adapt to any situation and make sense of any reading material is timeless.