Several States Continue to Return Their Focus on Handwriting Instruction

Idaho the Latest State to Require Cursive in Schools

Mar 01, 2013, 11:40 ET from Zaner-Bloser

COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Idaho joins a list of states that now require or recommend cursive handwriting in the curriculum. On Thursday, the Idaho Senate passed a resolution requesting the State Board of Education to add a cursive handwriting requirement to their state standards. Other states have also demonstrated a major shift in focus about the role of handwriting instruction in their schools. Currently, legislators in North Carolina are considering a "Back to Basics" bill that would make cursive handwriting a part of the curriculum in state elementary schools.

On January 23, 2012, researchers and education thought leaders convened in Washington D.C. for Handwriting in the 21st Century? An Educational Summit to discuss the role of handwriting instruction in the 21st century classroom. Research presented at the Summit provided evidence supporting the benefits of handwriting instruction, including improved literacy and overall academic achievement. The term handwriting refers to both manuscript (printing) and cursive. Summit attendees overwhelmingly agreed that both handwriting and keyboarding deserve serious attention. The HW 21 Community created a set of Written-Language Production Standards for Grades K–8 that could be helpful for any education decision makers looking to supplement their Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Now, just over one year later, state boards of education and legislators across the country are demonstrating a renewed focus on the need for incorporating this foundational skill back into the curriculum.

Other Developments

  • Utah is studying cursive writing during the 2012–2013 school year. A committee of state educators will look at the relevant research and then create language for the Utah Core Standards. The State Board of Education will review the recommendations in the spring. 
  • In February of 2013, the Indiana Senate voted to advance a "cursive bill" requiring schools to teach cursive writing. This bill reverses a 2011 decision by the State Board of Education that made teaching cursive optional.
  • In December of 2012, the Kansas State Board of Education agreed unanimously to adopt a policy statement encouraging—but not requiring—public schools to teach cursive.
  • In July of 2012, Georgia incorporated handwriting standards into their curricula that now require students' proficiency in cursive handwriting.

All of these states are among the 45 states due to adopt the CCSS in 2014 that require computer keyboarding by the time pupils exit elementary school—but not cursive. States that adopt the CCSS have the option to identify as much as 15 percent in additional standards.

For details about the research presented at Handwriting in the 21st Century? An Educational Summit—as well as up-to-date information on state developments—visit Follow the conversation about the role of handwriting in 21st century schools on Twitter and on Facebook.

SOURCE Zaner-Bloser