Indiana schools no longer required to teach cursive - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Indiana schools no longer required to teach cursive

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CLARKSVILLE, IN (WDRB) -- In the height of the digital revolution -- when keystrokes often create conversation -- keyboarding skills will soon overshadow cursive writing in Indiana classrooms.

In fact, it's already happening. By no means is cursive banned in Indiana classrooms. But there is a de-emphasis of sorts that's growing.

A memo sent out this spring from Indiana's Department of Education said that cursive had long been part of the language arts curriculum. But under the new common core curriculum, teaching cursive would not be required. In fact, the memo told teachers that they could stop teaching cursive this school year.

In southern Indiana, school districts were somewhat reluctant to talk about this. After two days of phone calls, no one from New Albany Floyd County schools called us back. Greater Clark County Schools' spokeswoman replied in a text message "Common core standards will be fully implemented in 2014. No decision has been made as to whether or not cursive would be required."

Under the new common core curriculum, Indiana's department of education says that cursive -–while encouraged -– will no longer be taught on its own. Instead it will be integrated with other schoolwork, according to Matt Thompson, an elementary administrator in Scott County who talked to us by phone.

Parents we spoke to had mixed reviews.

"I think cursive writing should be taught," said Tracy Krages. "It's part of society."

Another parent, Daniel Angela, took a nuanced approach. "We understand with technology moving the way it is that they need to learn keyboarding," he said. "But you also have to write a letter to sign a check. I think they should teach both."

The idea of abandoning cursive doesn't sit well with Iris Hatfield.

"I've been a handwriting specialist for 43 years," Hatfield said.

She wrote the book, New American Cursive. Hatfield says cursive should not only be taught, it should be taught to children sooner like in 1st grade.

"[Cursive] helps train their mind, the hand, their attention to detail, it stimulates the brain," Hatfield said.

She developed and now sells her program around the world.

"The upstrokes, the release, the flow and the rhythm stimulates the brain. It's more than just pretty handwriting," Hatfield said during an interview in her Middletown, KY home.

Most of her clientele are home-schooling parents or teachers having to sneak cursive back into their classrooms.

It will be up to school districts in Indiana to determine the life-span of cursive in the classroom.

But students might be playing an equal role.

"I haven't done cursive since the second grade, (my teachers) are not teaching it," said Marina Angela, a sixth grader who rates her skills with an iPad a "10" compared to the cursive she says she's abandoned. "They're not teaching it at my school anymore unless you're in first second or third grade."

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