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Unsolved: How Cursive Disappeared From School Curriculum

Let me take you back to my third-grade year. I was expecting, at some point during the year, to get the infamous third-grade cursive packet, but it never came; and I haven’t heard of cursive since. The quiet disappearance of cursive has made me wonder where it’s been all these years. It just vanished; never to be taught, at least to me, ever again. I recently decided to delve into why cursive slipped out of the educational scene, and my findings were rather interesting. 

As society has progressed into the 21st century, we’ve adapted to using technology in our everyday lives. Because of this, learning how to communicate with technology, specifically learning to type, took priority over learning cursive. While more and more people were moving forward with technology and leaving cursive behind, some advocates for cursive worked to preserve its teaching in schools – creating a fierce discussion. The Common Core Initiative is an educational initiative that outlines standards of what students should know in English and Mathematics at the end of each school year in the United States. Ancor number six, one of the standards outlined, recommends that writing illustrates a technological focus, communicating to students that writing should be more thought out using technology as well as collaborating with others. Teachers were split on the matter of learning cursive, with their input influencing the decision to move away from cursive. Although these issues with cursive pose a different angle on writing, there are also benefits to students writing in cursive. 

Many people focus on how important having good penmanship is, which includes any script including cursive. People point out how having the ability to write quickly makes it easier to translate their ideas on paper. Students who struggle have to apply other skills to learn cursive, making other aspects of writing, using the correct format for a paper seem less important. Teachers against learning cursive argued that it took an enormous amount of instructional time away from other important lessons. 

Ultimately, an increase in technology use and opinions on how to use time in the classroom led to the downfall of cursive. The question now, however, is where cursive is still being used, and will it ever make a comeback? Tennessee and California are part of a handful of states that have added cursive writing back into the curriculum. It seems however that Louisiana is the most fascinating of these cases. Louisiana state law requires that students receive instruction on cursive every year from third to twelfth grade. Despite this, cursive is being used less and less. Whatever the research says or what teachers’ opinions are on this controversial subject, one thing is clear: this once cherished style of writing is slowly becoming a relic of the past.

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