As we blogged about some years ago, teaching cursive handwriting had all but disappeared from our nation’s schools, a victim of computer typing and the Common Core.
But now, cursive handwriting is coming back into the curriculum! Some 14 states now mandate instruction in the penmanship art. And now even the progressive New York City school system has come around.
It began when a New York Assemblywoman was working at a voter registration table. She signed up an 18-year-old. But when he had to sign his name to the form, he printed it in block letters. No, she told him, you need to sign it. He explained that he didn’t know how. “I never learned script.” She told this story to city education officials, and they agreed that this is a skill that needs to be taught.
We may have a generation that has never learned how to write or read cursive. But it may be coming back!
Cursive writing is looping back into style in schools across the country after a generation of students who know only keyboarding, texting and printing out their words longhand.
Alabama and Louisiana passed laws in 2016 mandating cursive proficiency in public schools, the latest of 14 states that require cursive. And last fall, the 1.1 million-student New York City schools, the nation’s largest public school system, encouraged the teaching of cursive to students, generally in the third grade. . . .
Penmanship proponents say writing words in an unbroken line of swooshing l’s and three-humped m’s is just a faster, easier way of taking notes. Others say students should be able to understand documents written in cursive, such as, say, a letter from Grandma. And still more say it’s just a good life skill to have, especially when it comes to signing your name.
That was where New York state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis drew the line on the cursive generation gap, when she encountered an 18-year-old at a voter registration event who printed out his name in block letters.
“I said to him, ‘No, you have to sign here,’” Malliotakis said. “And he said, ‘That is my signature. I never learned script.’”
Malliotakis, a Republican from the New York City borough of Staten Island, took her concerns to city education officials and found a receptive audience.
Illustration by wikipedia:en:user:Sotakeit (w:Image:Cursive.JPG) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons