Another State Has Signed Cursive Back Into Elementary School Curriculum

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Another state is now requiring cursive lessons in elementary schoolsAnother state is now requiring cursive lessons in elementary schools

Cursive is rewriting itself back into the elementary school curriculum, this time across California. The advent of keyboards made cursive class a non-issue for most of Gen Z, but California will be requiring it for the first time in almost a decade and a half.

The U.S. government officially removed cursive from the required Common Core Standards for K-12 education in 2010, with typing class usually filling the resulting void. While this has been a way to keep up with changing times and technology, educators and scientists feel there is still much to be gained from the fancy font.

California has officially made cursive part of the elementary school curriculum again

The new piece of legislation took effect in California in January 2024, officially mandating the teaching of cursive in elementary schools, after being signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.

Over a dozen states require these lessonsOver a dozen states require these lessons
Over a dozen states require these lessons / Unsplash

The idea “really came from me actually using the app 23andMe,” shared assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, a former elementary school teacher, “and going back a good amount of decades to some family records and realizing that most of them were written in cursive.”

But it’s not just in historical documents that cursive persists. Quirk-Silva added, “I have family members that have written many, many letters over the years. And as my kids were growing up, their grandmother was from Wisconsin, and she wrote them letters almost weekly, all in cursive.”

California joins a growing list of states teaching cursive again

Many among Gen Z can't read cursiveMany among Gen Z can't read cursive
Many among Gen Z can’t read cursive / Unsplash

As of 2016, 14 states required cursive lessons. During the 2018-2019 school year, that number went up to 19 states. As of last November, 21 states required some form of cursive handwriting education; California has made that go up yet again.

Discussing the new legislation with Quirk-Silva, NPR host Steve Inskeep noted, “California’s new handwriting law takes effect in January because the governor knew how to sign it.” The hope is that by the end of the month, more students will be able to communicate in and read cursive. Students have grandparents who, in the past, learned to write exclusively in cursive, and in the future those same students will need a signature of their own – in cursive.

California is the latest state to require cursive lessons in elementary schoolsCalifornia is the latest state to require cursive lessons in elementary schools
California is the latest state to require cursive lessons in elementary schools / Unsplash

Dr. Michelle Rodriguez, Superintendent of Stockton Unified School District, wants quality education wherever cursive is taught. Dr. Rodriguez argues, “Using paper and pen allows there to be more hooks for the memories and for the learning to hook onto. It shouldn’t be practicing with writing the same sentence three times,” said Dr. Rodriguez. “It needs to be purposeful and intentional. Their writing should show meaning and should be something that they care about, show their voice.”

Do you still learn cursive?

Understanding the writing style is important for reading historical documentsUnderstanding the writing style is important for reading historical documents
Understanding the writing style is important for reading historical documents / Unsplash



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