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Columbia Missourian

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cursive writing shouldn't be lost in education

By Ashlee B. Reece
March 14, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

To think that when I have children they might attend an elementary school that does not put an emphasis on cursive writing bewilders me. My biggest concern is that the shift into a "digital era" will soon make basic learning concepts and skills taught in elementary schools things of the past, and total reliance will be put upon machines that can think for children.

Although Missouri adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010, I appreciate that the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has left the decision of whether to focus on cursive writing up to individual school districts. In states such as New Jersey, there is no core standard that suggests the need for cursive handwriting in elementary education.

Putting cursive writing on the back burner in Missouri is a serious widespread issue.  Although the times are changing and typing is becoming a more common way to communicate, cursive writing is by no means inferior. It's a well-known fact that research has proven handwriting jump starts essential brain activity while typing has not.

When sending children to school and promising them that the world is at their young fingertips, I'm sure parents were not referring to a keyboard. There is so much more outside what the "digital era" can teach us, and educators ought to give children all of those opportunities.

I propose that the state establish a way to incorporate both cursive writing and typing into the Common Core State Standards. This would not be meant to add a third component to writing but simply give an equal amount of time spent on typing and cursive writing.

I believe that the people we put in place to head individual education districts should start by making the decision to reiterate the importance of cursive writing and encourage Missouri school districts to equally focus on this skill.

Ashlee B. Reece is a junior at MU.