Cursive Loses Out To Typing

Larry Price
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Wednesday - August 10, 2011
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With all the challenges facing our public school system, I was interested in the new national education standards that will roll out this year.

In this new school year, students won’t be required to learn something called “cursive.”

Interestingly, many parents weren’t even sure what cursive is.

Hawaii public school standards, which are being replaced by new national ones, did spell out that students should be able to write legibly and fluently in cursive by the fourth grade. Now, in these new national common core standards, keyboarding instruction will take the place of cursive.

There are a few hard-core principals who say cursive will continue to be taught at their discretion.

I’m reasonably sure that some in the public school system will address the issue of handwriting while others will praise the new concentration on the art of keyboarding. So there’s a good chance that many of our youngsters will have to be fluent in both.

The bottom line is there is no sense in fighting this kind of change. Every year the body of knowledge increases and the powers that be will expect the teachers and students to learn it or else.

Let’s face it, we’ve created a new kind of student who commands much more nimble motor skills. How they use those skills is another story.

An example is a former public school educational assistant who made the news last week. Cody M. Onizuka, 25, was indicted by an Oahu grand jury on “sexting” charges. Like parents and teachers who had never heard of cursive, few had ever heard of sexting. Well, that’s another motor skill that the kids are learning. It’s the first time anyone in Hawaii has been charged with “sexting” someone. This young man, who was working with our youngsters, was charged with third-degree promotion of child abuse after he allegedly convinced a 12-year-old girl to take nude photos of herself and send them to him. It was shocking to learn that police had recovered thousands of text messages between the two.

Onizuka was fired by the Department of Education last year.

Why do I mention it here? Well, if we were only teaching kids to communicate using cursive, something like this wouldn’t have happened. Imagine using cursive to send more than 1,000 text messages with videos. Not possible! This is truly a new era of communication.

It would seem that the motor skills of keyboarding and texting will require more guidance in the classroom. Hopefully, it gets the attention it deserves, and educators will at least make students learn how to sign their name in cursive and not just with an X.

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