Cursive Handwriting is Being Eliminated Throughout the Country

by | Feb 8, 2017 | Original Content

This past year, my wife and I moved our kids from private Catholic school to our local public school. My son was entering the 6th grade which is middle school here, so it was a good time to transition to public school. It was a learning curve, but a positive change for the kids. After the kids had started in their new schools, my daughter came home from one day and told me how she didn’t need to learn cursive writing any longer. I thought maybe she misunderstood. It turns out she wasn’t wrong. Cursive handwriting is being eliminated throughout the country. She was upset because she enjoyed writing in cursive.

Cursive Handwriting - 2 - LoopyDad

I was surprised by this and asked her teacher at our first parent-teacher meeting. That was when I learned all about Common Core Standards. I had heard of Common Core before, but the Catholic Schools taught additional material over and above the Common Core Curriculum standards. So, we never had problems.

Cursive Handwriting is Being Eliminated Throughout the Country

But cursive writing? As ridiculous as this sounds, yes, cursive handwriting is being eliminated throughout the country. Why? Blame the US Department of Education. Back in 2010 when the Common Core Standards were established, 43 states adopted the new standards set by the US Department of Education. Pennsylvania, where I live, was one of those 43 states.

Common Core sets minimum standards for children from K-12. The standards were promoted as a way for schools to prepare kids for college and beyond. Unfortunately, based on standardized test scores of our children, it’s debatable how effective Common Core is, but that’s another discussion.

Cursive Handwriting - Example - LoopyDad

Common Core Standards

In the Common Core Standards, one thing was left out. Handwriting. Specifically, cursive handwriting. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Who uses cursive anymore? Well, it’s still used a lot. Here are a few examples of problems that are starting to appear in the United States because of this standard change only 7-years-ago:

  • We have kids and young adults today who haven’t mastered the simple ability to sign their names.
    • How often do you use your legal signature daily?
  • Across the country, employers are complaining about recent college graduates who are unable to read the cursive handwriting on everything from simple notes to legal and historical documents.
    • A simple “Great job” note, handwritten in cursive on a memo from the boss, is a problem when your kid can’t read it.
  • No big deal? How about when your kid gets a job in mortgages, banking or finance related industries and can’t read legal documents like deeds, mortgages or land surveys?
  • Nearly all older government documents are written in cursive. Many still are written this way to show the formal nature of the document.
  • Important historical documents like:
    • The Declaration of Independence
    • The Constitution of the United States of America
    • The Bill of Rights, The Preamble to the Constitution and so much more.
    • Most historical documents are written in cursive handwriting. Many young adults today see United States historical documents like something from a foreign country. They have no idea how to read the documents, so they only understand what other people tell them is in these important documents. That is a serious problem that will only get worse with time.
  • Kids have issues reading thank you notes and letters from older family members and friends.
  • Printing is slower than cursive. Think about how much faster it is to handwrite anything in cursive versus printing. When you try to write fast with printed letters, it just ends up looking messy and illegible.

Historical Documents in Cursive Handwriting - LoopyDad

Why Was This Decision Made At All?

The United States is one of the few modern countries to make the decision to exclude cursive handwriting from school curriculums. Why was this decision made at all? Cursive handwriting is being eliminated throughout the country because of Federal law. So obviously somebody, somewhere, must have thought it was a good idea. Whoever did make this decision apparently failed to consult any of my former Elementary, Junior High or High School English teachers. They would have set these people straight and nipped this in the bud before it even saw the light of day.

Blame Technology

So why change it at all? Blame technology. Many government bureaucrats and educators believe that cursive handwriting is no longer useful or has a purpose in today’s modern society. Computers, tablets, smartphones, all use printed letters. Many people hardly ever write anything on paper today. We use note taking apps. We communicate via email and text. The assumption is that people don’t have a need to write because it’s all done electronically.

Numerous countries have their versions of cursive handwriting even in languages other than English. Hebrew, Russian, Chinese, Greek and even ancient Rome where the idea for our alphabet originated. These are just a few of the many that use cursive writing. In many European countries, young children learn cursive handwriting before printing.

Schools Should Have Kept it in Their Curriculum

This is an issue that affects all of our children. It’s not that hard to learn cursive handwriting. Schools should have kept it in their curriculum. Before 2010, they all did. Unfortunately, Common Core standards gave schools the option not to teach it. Which is why we find ourselves in today’s situation.

Eight States Have Passed Legislation

This needs to be an issue in all state governments. And it is in many states. Currently, eight states have passed legislation to require the teaching of cursive handwriting in their local schools. An additional four states are also fighting to pass legislation. Here are all 12 of those states:

  • North Carolina
  • Arkansas
  • Tennessee
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Kansas
  • Arizona
  • Louisiana
  • Idaho (pending legislation)
  • Indiana (pending legislation)
  • Massachusetts (pending legislation)
  • Utah (pending legislation)

In my state of Pennsylvania, it doesn’t appear to even be on the radar. We need to change that. The easiest way is to email and call your local state representatives. I have included links to several Commonwealth of Pennsylvania government websites at the end of this post to make that easier for you.

This May Not Seem Like a Big Deal

Look, I know this may not seem like a big deal to some people. It probably also sounds strange being written by a guy with a Dad blog called LoopyDad.com. As a matter of fact, this is the first time I have ever done something to try and gain support to change anything let alone something in government. I just know in my heart this is something that is going bite us all in the rear down the road if we don’t do something to fix it now.


Our Job as Parents is to Prepare Our Children for the Real World

Our job as parents is to prepare our children for the real world. Neglecting to teach them something as basic as cursive handwriting just doesn’t make sense to me. I was a law clerk for four years in college. I owned my insurance brokerage for 15 years. I’ve bought and sold numerous properties. In every one of those situations, it would have negatively affected my ability to do my work if I didn’t know how to read and write cursive handwriting.

History should not be a mystery to our children just because they cannot understand how our language was written back then. And I should not have to read out loud a beautifully handwritten letter from Grandma to my son, only because our school decided not to teach him the “old way” to read and write. It’s just wrong.

It’s Part of Our Culture

I hope this subject speaks as loudly to other parents as it does to me. Cursive handwriting is part of our history. It’s part of our culture. We need to fight to make sure our kids have the knowledge they need to both read and write in cursive.

Cursive Templates

One final note on this. Apparently getting anything changed in government takes a while. You might want to consider printing out some cursive templates like I did and have your kids practicing a few days a week. Anything can help.

I found several excellent downloadable cursive writing templates online. The one I liked the best was as follows, but you can also just google “cursive handwriting templates” to find others if you don’t like these:

http://www.todaysparent.com/family/education/cursive-worksheets/

Contact Links to Find Your Local Pennsylvania Representatives

I listed the contact links to find your local Pennsylvania Representatives because that’s the state that I live in. If any of my readers would like to research their states, feel free to email me that information. I will post it here to make it easier for others to contact their state elected officials. When you contact them, be polite and explain that it’s a concern of yours how cursive handwriting is being eliminated throughout the country and you simply want to bring this to their attention. Offer to send additional information to them if they need it, but all of this can be looked up online.

You can locate the representative and senator for your area at the following “find my representative” page on the Pennsylvania Government website:

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/index.cfm

Also, consider sending emails and calling the representatives and senators on the Education Committees of both the PA House and Senate. The website links for both are as follows:

Pennsylvania House of Representatives Education Committee: (note, as of the writing of this post on 2/8/2017, the PA House has not assigned members to the Education Committee yet because of the recent election).

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/CteeInfo/index.cfm?Code=12&CteeBody=H

Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee: (note, these members were assigned as of 2/8/2017).

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/CteeInfo/index.cfm?Code=23&CteeBody=S