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Handwriting requirement dropped by Indiana

Indiana has become the latest state to drop the requirement for children to learn joined-up (cursive) handwriting.

The new Common Core State Standards Initiative does not require cursive, and around forty states have so far signed up to it. Some states, including Massachusetts and California, have re-included cursive as is allowed by the Standards.

Indiana will instead focus on children learning typing skills, which education officials say are more useful for the employment world.

Many schools have said there simply is not enough time in the term to teach children both.

Dr Scott Hamilton, an Indiana clinical psychologist, said the time children spend labouring over script could be better used.

“From an intuitive standpoint, this makes sense, based on the increasingly digital world into which this generation of children is growing up,” he said.

Denna Renbarger, an education official in Lawrence Township, Indiana, said there were many more important things for students to be learning at school

“I think it’s progressive of our state to be ahead on this,” she told the Indianapolis Star. (Source: BBC News)

The decision is contentious, with some parents, psychologists and educators arguing that there is more to handwriting than being able to write quickly.

“The fluidity of cursive allows for gains in spelling and a better tie to what they are reading and comprehending through stories and through literature,” Paul Sullivan, head teacher of a school in California, told CNN.

“I think there’s a firmer connection of wiring between the brain’s processes of learning these skills and the actual practice of writing.”

What do you think? Should children still be learning cursive?