Battle over cursive writing classes: Is it dead?


by Gene Kang

Posted on April 23, 2013 at 6:38 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 24 at 8:54 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Could cursive writing come to an end?

It’s being threatened in almost every classroom in the U.S.

Many critics say it’s a thing of the past in the digital age and not necessary for students.
All four school districts in southern Indiana refuse to call it history.

Sarah Shelton's third grade class is learning how to sky write--something considered "old school" to many.

It’s the lost art of handwriting.

This class is being cut all across the country. Indiana's Senate Bill 120 is an attempt to place long form writing back in Hoosier schools, now before the House of Representatives.

However, whatever lawmakers decide, Greater Clark County Schools will continue teaching cursive to their second and third grade classes.

One third grader said why she thought cursive writing was so important.
"So when you're older you have signatures," Isaiah Florence said.

But by next year, 45 states including Indiana and Kentucky will require proficiency in computer keyboarding by the fourth grade. No mention of learning cursive writing by The National Governors Association which implemented the changes.

"It's important for students to know the basics and be able to read historic documents whether online or in person at a museum," Andy Melin, Greater Clark County School Superintendent, said.

Megan Schanie, a School and Teacher Programs Coordinator at the Frazier History Museum said why she thought it was interesting why schools would stop teaching cursive writing.

"It's interesting that they would start transitioning away from the cursive writing; we see a lot of students come through that look at historical documents like the Declaration of Independence for example," Schanie said.

The Frazier History Museum has a number of significant documents on display, dating back to our founding fathers; exhibits that would be impossible to understand if people can't decipher handwriting and instead, turns cursive into a thing of the past.

Critics say as technology advances with computers, tablets, smartphones and e-readers... there will be no need for signatures or time-consuming classes.

"It can teach you how to write faster so when you get in college it's easier to write," Kameo Oldham, a third grader, said.

The Common Core State Standard Initiative website shows how each state matches up and what requirements are needed in the classroom.