It looks like learning to write cursive — or handwriting, will not be required anymore in the public school system in Hawaii. The new set of national education standards that Hawaii is rolling out this school year do not have a requirement that students learn cursive. However, several principals throughout the state said they will continue to teach cursive based on discretion.
What does that even mean? The educational standards in Hawaii’s public school system are already a joke. Now principles of schools are able to say they will teach a certain subject (in this case cursive) at their discretion? Why do they get to decide who learns cursive and who doesn’t?
Needless to say, this new development has many local parents worried. “I think it’s going to be a bad thing,” said Marguerite Higa, treasurer of Parents for Public Schools. “I’m generally concerned about the lack of attention to motor skill development in kids. If they don’t practice (cursive) at school, I don’t know where they’re going to learn it.”
As bad as a development as this is, it can’t really come as a surprise to anyone who is even remotely familiar with the way Hawaii and the D.O.E. run the state’s public school system. This is yet another corner cut, and another poor attempt made to try and raise the overall grades and standards of our public schools. The saddest thing is, cutting corners and “setting new standards” continues to only make things worse.
Several national experts have raised concerns about the lack of a cursive requirement in the common core. They point out that most Historical documents, are in cursive, and that many college courses still require handwritten, in-class exams. Others note that cursive handwriting helps brain development.
Steve Graham, an education professor at Vanderbilt University who focuses on special education, literacy and writing development, said students need to be able to write “legibly and fluently.”
Well Steve, Hawaii doesn’t want to be a part of proper literacy and writing development. Sad, but true. What will be next?