Why Texas Is Forcing Students to Learn Cursive again

Did you know that Texas students are required to know how to properly write in cursive by the time they finish fifth grade?

This decision came after the State Board of Education changed the requirements for the language arts for the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills in 2017.

At that time, the updates weren’t scheduled to happen until the 2019-20 school year.

This new update will require from the students in Texas schools to start learn how to write in cursive letters in the second grade and eligibly write in it by the time they end fifth grade.

What’s the Main Reason behind this Decision?

Learning cursive writing, according to Diane Schallert, a professor in the Educational Psychology department at the University of Texas at Austin, is similar to learning a new language.

Schallert studies how learning and language coincide and emphasizes how learning cursive can help children expand their skills for comprehension.

This helps them learn the reciprocity between production and comprehension. When they see the letters being formed by their control, they’re considering the sound-symbol correspondence, she further explains.

However, although she sees the value of learning cursive while young, she admits that she herself starter to write in cursive as a first grader.

And, she added that adjusting the statewide curriculum can be quite challenging. If the teachers are required to teach it, there’s less time to instruct them on other subjects.

Majority of the state’s school districts didn’t teach students the cursive prior to this change. For a lot of US adults, they’ll remember learning cursive only in elementary. Could this elegant form of handwriting make a comeback?

The Decline of the Cursive in the US

The formal American cursive system originated in the mid 1800s and at that period, people’s profession and social rank depended on how they wrote.

Students learned the cursive through a textbook in the Spencerian method and a lot of businesses and schools used it too. 

Texas isn’t the only state returning to these cursive requirements.

After the drop of cursive learning in the 2010, states like Arkansas, California, Florida, Virginia, and Lousiana are putting back the requirement to learn cursive in schools.

In total, 18 states in the US today require from their students to learn the cursive letter.

According to Anne Trubek, the writer of The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting, the revival of cursive is a reaction to the ongoing changes like technology.

Even though she believes that knowing how to write in cursive is important for students’ development of their signature, she doesn’t think it should be required if the students don’t want it.