Do we still need to learn cursive?

Jan 30, 2013

Cursive handwriting may soon go the way of the card catalog and the film projector. Schools are moving to new curriculum standards that put more emphasis on typing skills. But not everyone is ready for the cursive alphabet to become a relic. Jessica Robinson reports the Idaho legislature is considering a statewide cursive mandate.

Idaho is one of 45 states, including Oregon and Washington, that have adopted a new set of national math and language standards called the Common Core. They establish expectations for each grade level. Keyboarding starts in 3rd grade. Cursive handwriting is not included.

That slight has heated up an already simmering debate about the value of cursive, says Rich Christen. He's an educational historian at the University of Portland. Christen says there aren't a lot of practical reasons any more for teaching cursive.

Rich Christen: “But I think the aesthetic argument can still be made. I think that it's an important way for students to be involved in an aesthetic activity every day. And that would be a way for cursive handwriting.”

The lawmaker pushing the requirement in Idaho says he's already received support from around the country. Most of it … by email.

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