The Web lit up last week with the news that Indiana has become the latest state to drop cursive writing from its curriculum. Forty six states have signed on to what’s known as the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which outlines a national curriculum that includes keyboard typing but not cursive writing. The recommendation: that keyboarding be taught in third grade and mastered in fourth grade.
Opinions are mixed. We’ll all be signing checks and documents long into the future, but what will signatures look like 50 years from now if kids don’t learn how to sign their names in cursive? Will we lose the ability to read historical documents? Will all standardized testing — including essay questions — be online by the time kids no longer know how to write quickly in a blue book?
The bottom line: Children are educated to be prepared for the future, and we all know that typing — be it on the keyboard we know today, tablets, smartphones, or devices not yet invented — will only become more prevalent. Moving typing class from high school down to elementary school seems sensible enough. Some parents report that their young children are already faster typists than they are anyway. Perhaps that will free up some time to let them learn cursive on their own. Or at least practice their signature.