Sharpen the pencils: Tennessee revives cursive teaching

Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:06am EDT
 
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By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE (Reuters) - Children in Tennessee will have to get used to holding a pencil again next year when new cursive handwriting standards go into effect in schools throughout the state.

The trend around the United States is to emphasize keyboarding - a skill that is included in the Common Core education standards adopted by most states.

But Tennessee lawmakers, concerned that some children do not have a signature and struggle to read their teachers' handwriting, overwhelmingly passed a bill making cursive a mandatory subject in grades two through four.

Schools are expected to start bringing back the declining art of cursive in 2015-2016 under the new rules, signed into law this year by Governor Bill Haslam.

Keyboarding and print writing will still have their place, but legible penmanship will be required by third grade.

"I am surprised we have stopped teaching it in some places," said Gary Nixon, executive director of the Tennessee School Board. "It's an art that is losing its form because of the keyboard."

For millennials, cursive is quaint and not much more.

"It's kind of like hopping on a Pogo stick. If you can do it, great, but if not, it doesn't matter," said Cory Woodroof, 21, a student at Lipscomb University in Nashville who felt grade school handwriting classes were wasted time.   Continued...