Ideas and ways to advance education are constantly evolving.  As schools and teachers help our students move forward there is one old standby which may get left behind...cursive.

Should cursive still be taught in Michigan schools?

It's easy to understand the argument against teaching cursive. Computers are making handwriting less important.  Typing has become a more useful skill, but cursive is not obsolete...yet.

We use cursive to sign our names and might have to read it once in a while.  Until just a couple of years ago it was required to be taught by Michigan law.  Now, the requirements are less clear.

WZZM talked with Lowell schools in 2011:

Roger Bearup, Curriculum Coordinator for Lowell Area Schools says the dwindling of script-like writing is a sign of the times.

"I still feel like cursive writing is an important skill to have, however, with that being said, we don't spend the same amount of time teaching cursive that we once did, " says Bearup, "Now the focus of the common core is more on the purpose of writing, the organization, the structure of writing and the way the kids communicate through that writing." has more:

...according to Writing Across the Curriculum, a state Department of Education guide for public schools, students must learn cursive writing. That means the state’s teachers are expected to teach it.

However, the Common Core State Standards, which Michigan’s Board of Education adopted in 2010, does not require graduating high schoolers to know how to write cursive. The standards, which all but a handful of states use, are designed to ensure that high-school graduates across the country are prepared for college and work.

It’s unclear if the common core standards will nullify Michigan’s cursive requirements, according to state Department of Education spokesman Jan Ellis. But it’s plain, Ellis says, that the tests the state’s students face in 2014 will not include cursive.

Laura Schiller, a Ph.D. literary consultant for Oakland Schools, says teachers need to minimize time spent on teaching cursive as other communication technology like computers and smart phones gradually take over. “For many people,” she says, “the only time they use handwriting now is when we sign something. We change with the times.”

I agree.  I don't feel like the time has come to completely abandon cursive writing.  That time my never come.  But it makes sense to put less of a focus on cursive and use that time towards learning computer and other skills.

Cursive can still be useful and helps develop fine motor skills, but teaching cursive should be much lower on the priority list than it was years ago.