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Signing of the Times: Cursive Absent from National Curriculum
November 25, 2012

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Writing longhand may be on the decline in the classroom as well as in real, technologically advanced life.

A total of 45 of the 50 states are planning on adopting 2014 national curriculum guidelines that don't include cursive handwriting. On the other hand, elementary students will be expected to show proficiency in keyboard typing, namely on computers.

California, Georgia, and Massachusetts have approved their own add-on to the national curriculum, preserving handwriting programs in those states. Illinois, Indiana, and Hawaii have allowed individual school districts to choose their preference.

Proponents of learning cursive writing say that it helps younger students build coordination and motor skills, provides an opportunity to express personality, and serves as a link to previous generations. Some teachers have cited cases in which students have been unable to decipher relatively easy-to-read handwriting in primary source documents because they never learned to do it themselves. Others cite the necessity of longhand writing for examinations throughout elementary and secondary education, insisting that writing in cursive is father than printing.

Many people, however, insist that printing should be sufficient in an age in which very few needs for cursive writing exist anymore. Legal documents still require signatures, of course, but many entities nowadays accept electronic signatures. Even the traditional instruction of filling out a check is not so much in demand anymore, as financial transactions go increasingly electronic. School examinations are increasingly onscreen as well.

What does nearly everyone agree on? The need for students to be able to sign their name shows a sense of identity. Even those who argue for all-electronic-all-the-time grant that a person's signature is a symbol of his or her personality.



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