hand•writ•ing [hand-rahy-ting] noun
Can You Imagine a World Without Handwriting?
On January 23, 2012, researchers and education thought leaders convened in Washington D.C. for Handwriting in the 21st Century? An Educational Summit to discuss research and opinions regarding the role of handwriting instruction in the 21st century classroom. (Watch videos of the researchers' presentations to learn more.) Now, just over a year later, a major shift in focus about the role of handwriting instruction in 21st century schools has occurred since the Summit. New developments, both nationally and regionally, include the following:
- The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) released a policy update in September of 2012 that examined the role of handwriting and its instruction in schools today. The update also carefully examined the pros and cons of the debate, particularly in light of research.
NEW: Dr. Virginia Berninger, professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, offers a response to NASBE’s handwriting policy update in a Commentary piece from March 25, 2013. The Commentary—Educating Students in the Computer Age to Be Multilingual by Hand—makes the case for including handwriting (both cursive and manuscript) and keyboarding instruction in the curriculum.
- On April 5, 2013, the Utah State Board of Education recommended unanimously that elementary schools in the state teach cursive handwriting. This recommendation is open to public comment before the school board votes on the matter.
- On April 4, 2013, the North Carolina House of Representatives unanimously passed a “Back to Basics” bill that would make cursive handwriting a part of the curriculum in state elementary schools. If approved by the state Senate, the bill would take effect during the 2013-14 school year.
- On February 28, 2013, Idaho legislature overwhelmingly passed a measure that directs the State Board of Education to require cursive handwriting in Idaho elementary schools.
- In February of 2013, the Indiana Senate voted to advance a “cursive bill” requiring schools to teach cursive writing. This bill reverses a 2011 decision by the State Board of Education that made teaching cursive optional.
- Utah is studying cursive writing during the 2012–2013 school year. A committee of state educators will look at the relevant research and then create language for the Utah Core Standards. The State Board of Education will review the recommendations in the spring.
- In December of 2012, the Kansas State Board of Education agreed unanimously to adopt a policy statement recommending—but not requiring—that public schools teach cursive.
- In July of 2012, Georgia incorporated handwriting standards into their curricula that now require students' proficiency in cursive handwriting.
- Prior to the Summit, Massachusetts and California amended their Common Core State Standards with handwriting requirements.
Handwriting and Keyboarding Standards
Summit attendees overwhelmingly agreed that both handwriting and keyboarding deserve serious attention. The HW 21 Community created a set of Written-Language Production Standards for Grades K–8 that could be helpful for any education decision makers looking to supplement their Common Core State Standards.