Cursive gets curt dismissal

Is anybody here greatly bothered that Hawai‘i public school students won’t be required to learn cursive writing under national core learning standards the Department of Education is adopting this year?

With students using keyboarding for more and more of their written communication, many schools are reducing emphasis on cursive to create time to teach higher priority subjects such as reading and math.

Critics complain that this will impede development of motor skills and make it impossible to read historical documents or take college exams that are written in script.

I respect the ancient arts as much as anybody, but we have to give the schools leeway in setting priorities or they’ll never have any. One of the problems in school reform has been endless mandates requiring the teaching of things there aren’t enough hours in the school day to teach.

I’ve made a living in written communication for more than 40 years, and except for my signature, I can’t remember the last time cursive was required of me. Historical documents are available in printed text on the Internet and it’s highly unlikely that today’s third-graders will ever have to take a college exam in cursive as tablet computers flood the campuses.

They get plenty of motor skill development from keyboarding, they’re plenty adept at block printing, and have you seen what some of those kids can do with their thumbs?

Each child can develop a personal cursive signature as an art project.

The new standards don’t bar the teaching of cursive, just make it a school-level decision rather than a universal requirement. That’s as it should be as we demand that schools focus on teaching the things most important for rich and rewarding lives.

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4 Comments on “Cursive gets curt dismissal”


  1. I’m guessing that Roman Numerals won’t get much attention either.

  2. Richard Gozinya Says:

    Based on our test scores, I thought the DOE was still teaching Sumerian cuneiform.

  3. robert Says:

    maybe the students can develop their signatures in a new art class:

    Tagging 101: Decorating our Transit Corridor

  4. Kurt Kamikawa Says:

    Another reason to send kids to private schools?


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