According to a recent story from AZ Central, the Arizona State Board of Education just voted to make some new changes to the state’s Common Core standards, one of which was to add the requirement of K-12 students to learn cursive writing. And a lot of people in Arizona were apparently very much in favor of adding this requirement.
Having said that, this issue has been the source of some debate since Common Core began. It seems to be one of the most controversial aspects of the Common Core program. But I think this brings up an interesting question: is it really necessary for children to learn cursive writing?
Now, I learned cursive back when I was in elementary school. And over the past few years that I’ve been an adult, I’ve heard a number of people my age bring up an interesting point, that we don’t really use it much in the real world. I mean, part of this has to do with the fact that so much of what we write nowadays is no longer written by hand. Pretty much everyone has access to a computer with Microsoft Word or some equivalent program.
And we don’t write letters by hand much anymore. Now it’s all done by email. I would say that the majority of what I write by hand at this point in my life is just personal notes. So I think we could all agree that it’s not something we use very often. But still, is there a need for it at all? Well, let’s take a look at some of the arguments people make in favor of teaching children cursive.
One argument I’ve heard in favor of it is that children need to know cursive so they can read historical documents. But here’s the thing, there’s plenty of summaries and copies of the text of historical documents out there that are written in print, both in books and online. Like I said, I learned to write cursive in elementary school. And we never really used that skill to read directly from photos of historical documents. Even if a child wants to become a professional historian, cursive could just be something they learn when studying that particular field.
Then there’s the other argument that it’s necessary to learn cursive in order to write our signatures. And this is definitely a fair point. But still, I wonder if it’s still necessary for us to teach children this in the same way that we do now. Do teachers need to spend so much time teaching it? Is it necessary that we require students to use cursive every time they write something by hand up until they graduate high school?