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Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 11:47am

Teachers Debate Keeping Cursive In Curriculum

Updated: 4 years ago.
Bad penmanship can get you into trouble if someone can't understand your writing or you can't understand someone else's writing. But who puts hand to paper anymore? Georgia education officials will consider the question in February. (photo Kim Werker)

Georgia schools could drop cursive handwriting from the curriculum.

Teachers spend less time teaching penmanship because of standardized testing.

Students are currently required to learn cursive beginning in the third grade.

But the flowing style of handwriting isn't mentioned in a new state curriculum the state adopted last summer.

Georgia Southern University College of Education Dean Thomas Koballa says, students today prefer computers and texting to writing things out by hand.

"We're really looking at understandings for students in the 21st Century," Koballa says. "So, I think the question really is, 'Is cursive writing one of those critical skills?'"

Koballa is one of those who has his doubts.

"I think even with the SAT and GRE, many of those are now being done online where students are using a keyboard," Koballa says. "So, I think we're moving in that direction where that might not be such a critical skill."

Its proponents however, say, cursive is necessary to communicate, especially on hand-written lessons and exams.

Understanding what others have committed to paper also is important to comprehending hand-written notes and instructions.

A panel of teachers and administrators will meet in February to decide whether to amend the standards to include cursive.

But their decision might not mean that students will go lacking in learning all those swirly letters.

"Teachers can bring in other things to support the standards that we have," says Matt Cardoza, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Education. "And if cursive is something that a teacher wants to use to support the standards that are there, they certainly can do that."

So, if cursive is dropped from the curriculum, it still could be taught, just as part of other lessons.

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