Should cursive writing still be taught in our schools? The old debate is back with a vengeance as schools shift resources from the intricate, painstakingly rendered script to keyboard skills.
The Common Core State Standards, adopted by 42 states and the District of Columbia, call for handwriting instruction in kindergarten and first grade only, and teaching in keyboard skills after that. The standards don’t mention cursive. But 14 states require cursive instruction, and the skill inspires fierce loyalty, with some going so far as to argue that the founding fathers would disapprove of our abandonment of the script—students must learn cursive in order to decipher the intent of the original Constitution, for example—and others suggesting that our very identities are compromised when we can’t create identifiable signatures.
As Alabama state Rep. Dickie Drake, who sponsored a 2016 bill requiring cursive instruction in schools, put it, “I think your cursive writing identifies you as much as your physical features do.”
That bill was signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley, undoubtedly in a flourish of cursive, and went into effect in May 2016.