Hello? Can you read this? Could you have read it in cursive?
If State Sen. Don Gustavson of Sparks has his way, Nevada schoolchildren will not only read cursive, they will write it proficiently as well. Gustavson is introducing a bill, SB 287, this Legislative session to require public and charter schools to teach cursive by third grade.
In Nevada, cursive is optional in the classroom. It isn’t part of the Common Core, a K-12 math and literacy curriculum adopted by 43 states including ours, but it’s mandated in a number of states, including California, Georgia, Massachusetts and Tennessee. Proponents of longhand tout its positive effects on motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and argue that students need to learn cursive to read historical documents. Critics say script isn’t necessary in the digital age and that it takes time away from other, more important subjects.
UNLV education professor and associate dean Linda Quinn sides with the latter camp. Quinn says it takes students about a year to learn cursive, and most schoolwork is now typed.
“Making something that’s almost outdated mandatory seems counterproductive,” she says. “... We shouldn’t wipe it off the playing field, but maybe there should be more of a choice.”