February 10th , 2014 9:23 am Leave a comment

Cursive writing still taught in most Carter County schools

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Photo by Brandon Hicks

Photo by Brandon Hicks
West Side Elementary second-grade teacher Jancey Bennett instructs Gib Maupin on cursive letter writing while Zada Hardin practices on her own.

Cursive writing has been used for written communication for centuries, but with the increasing use of technology more people are moving away from the hand-written word as their main form of communication.

In fact, most states no longer require teachers to instruct students on the rules of cursive writing. Under the new Common Core guidelines, cursive is not a required part of the curriculum. Seven states, California, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Utah, have moved to keep cursive as part of the classroom lessons.

In Carter County, there is a good possibility that students will still be taught cursive beginning in their second grade classes and will continue the bulk of the lessons in third grade.

Kevin Ward, superintendent of the Carter County Schools, said cursive is still part of the county’s curriculum.
“It is a national trend to get away from teaching cursive,” Ward said. “Several parents have asked about it. We still do teach it even though it is the trend to not.”

Elementary Supervisor Dan Winters added it is decided on a teacher-by-teacher basis whether cursive is a part of the classroom lessons.

“It is done on a teacher by teacher basis,” Winters said. “There are not any hard and fast rules. The curriculum doesn’t prohibit or endorse the teaching of cursive. Some teachers are trying to cut out the things that are not required and only teach what they will be tested on. We have never taken steps to exclude it. There are no directives not to teach it. It is a nebulous point.”

In the Elizabethton City Schools, superintendent Ed Alexander said teachers do still continue to teach cursive even though it has not been required by the state for many years, even before the Common Core guidelines were put into place.

“The thought that someone couldn’t write in cursive, to me is unbelievable,” Alexander said.

Director of Special Education, RTI and Related Services Corey Gardenhour said cursive lessons begin in second grade when students are introduced to cursive letters and how to form them. Then in third grade, students progress to forming words and writing complete sentences in cursive writing.

“They took out the requirement for cursive writing years ago,” Gardenhour said. “It is optional for the children to learn that. We feel it is important that they are still taught how to read and write in cursive.”

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