In the age of computers, iPads and smartphones is cursive handwriting going the way of calligraphy?
The Kansas Department of Education is discussing that topic after asking school districts how extensively they're teaching the subject.
Results of the survey will be presented to the state Board of Education at a meeting Tuesday in Topeka.
The Kansas City, KS, School District leaves teaching cursive writing to the teacher, and it may not be taught. In Olathe, students are taught cursive writing from second through fifth grade. In the Blue Valley School District, cursive writing is not part of the formal curriculum but students are taught enough to be able to use it if needed. In Lawrence, cursive writing is taught from second to fourth grade while DeSoto teachers begin providing instruction in the second grade.
Schools around the country are spending less time on handwriting instruction as students do more of their work on computers. Teachers say in some districts that kindergartners are familiar with how to use a keyboard when they start school.
Shawnee Mission School District officials say paper and pen is giving way to keyboard, but it's premature to stop teaching cursive writing.
"We feel that handwriting instruction still has a value for students as a learning tool and we're going to continue to provide that form of writing in our district," said Betsy Regan, a district administrator.
Experts say students accustomed to writing on computers at home have a hard time seeing the relevance of spending hours practicing handwriting.
But the National Association of State Boards of Education wrote in a September policy update that there are benefits.
The association says handwriting is a basic skill that can help students in reading, writing, language use and critical thinking.
Many KCTV5 viewers had strong opinions on both sides of the issue.
One cursive writing supporter said your signature is almost like a fingerprint and how people identify you.
But Bonnie Boyer said computer-generated copy is easy to read while "not everyone can read handwriting."
"This is a changing world. We can't go back 20 years," she said.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) and The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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