Bits from Bill Pytlovany: No need to teach cursive writing


By Bill Pytlovany

Typically changes to primary education in our country are slow to proceed. To my surprise there’s a push to remove cursive writing from school curriculum and it’s gaining momentum. I’m shocked at the support from even older long time educators.

It turns in New York State our English Language Arts curriculum only requires legible manuscript either print or cursive. I’m don’t have  background in education but I do know what kids will need to know to be successful.

I’ve never been a fan of the current D’Nealian cursive or its predecessors. 


Teaching me in 1st grade that a capital Q was written like a number two was the first time I started to question the intelligence of my teachers. I have never seen anyone write the letter Q like that so it didn’t make sense.

My recommendation would still require penmanship but instead of cursive teach the topic of “script”.  What young minds needs to know is that there are a variety of “fonts” that can be use to express feelings beyond just words.

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This post is excerpted with Bill’s permission from his blog

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11 thoughts on “Bits from Bill Pytlovany: No need to teach cursive writing”

  1. I’m kind of surprised by the fact that not one person seemed to disagree with this. I’m a sophomore in high school and other than to sign my name, I haven’t used cursive since the fifth grade. My education hasn’t been diminished and my school is considered to be one of the better ones in my state. My teachers aren’t lazy and neither am I. My brother is in third grade and is just beginning to learn it, and his experience with it merely reinforces my opinion that IF cursive should be taught, it should be taught at a higher grade level where it would be easier to memorize. There is no need for a kid in elementary school to sign their name.

  2. I think it is a little short sighted. There is a degree of enjoyment and expression that should go with using cursiv as well as print. Art, music, cursiv, while we can survive with out them, I’m not sure it’s a good idea. I can survive without sound but doing away with it doesn’t seem a smart thing.

    We should continue to teach it, grade it, and require it.


    Cursive writtimg is one of the few activities that require the simultanious use of both sides of the brain. Not teaching this important, self-expressing skill is another example of the liberal idea of education. They are trying to creat obedient, mindless slaves to the system and there is no room for the individual.

  4. Adrian Rawlings

    I have to admit, I use a hybrid of printig and cursive, but I am incline to agree in the term penmanship over cursive. I also have to admit having grown up in the post60’s world, and the increase of computerised text, and decline in cursive, that I find it very difficult to read anyone elses handwriting. In fact when I was in the Navy my mother would send me a letter, with its beautiful cursive style, and I would have to phone her to tell me what was in it as I could not read her writing.
    ANd, if there was ever a case to support the demise of cursive, get a script from your Doctor, and I defy you to be able to read it. The handwriting of Doctors is so bad that some medical institutions have introduced writing courtses for doctors so their scripts can be read.
    My only fear is the removal of cursive from curriculum and the introduction of computers into early schooling may lead to children not being taught the art of handwring at all. Let’s hope we never get Nuspeak.

  5. Donald Eyermann

    It is absolutely pathetic to see these conservative rants about cutting education, cutting services that support and are intended to give the poor a hand up and decline of the Middle Class….all to avoid taxation, especially of the wealthier men.
    You readers really should explore a little history. There have always been a few wealthy people in every society. Czarist Russia had a fabulously wealthy upper class, as does every dictatorial regime in the world. It was NOT the upper class that made America Great. We only became Great after our Middle Class gained a better educational system, after unions in the beginning of the 20th century won better wages for the working class, and after we in the middle class achieved some affluence and had extra discretionary income to buy stuff. Then our demand created an opportunity for Yankee Ingenuity and the Entrepreneurial spirit to thrive. Middle Class demand drove the engine that created the huge car companies (and all the other manufacturing) that we had in America. Then the greedy rich managed to gain control of our media and government and are swinging the pendulum back towards a smaller contracted middle class. They apparently don’t care that many in their own ranks will lose position when that demand is reduced because the middle class has been shrunk. But then it is a fact of human greed and avarice that the elitists gain satisfaction when they have opulence and their fellows have beans….some people love to lord it over others.
    Be careful how you vote!!! Becoming enrolled that we need to cut services and reduce taxes will likely curtail you lifestyle more than you may realize. The windfall profits of a few people need to be highly taxed to put that money back into circulation. With an affluent Middle Class there is plenty of opportunity for clever entrepreneurs to invent another product and that success will engender them another windfall profit, which when taxed will inspire yet another new invention…and thus we all progress. The alternative is for the majority to be stagnated while a few of great wealth laugh all the way to the bank. Your vote for Progressive Principles and “Liberal” representatation really and truly is our only hope.

  6. Lazy teachers make lazy students which in turn make even lazier teachers which make even lazier students, a bad never ending downward spiral. there is more to cursive writing than just the immediate and obvious.

  7. Although my cursive writing is horrible after years of block printing working at a drafting table, I think not teaching it is a crime to the mind. I confess to using a mix of block and script.

    I love fonts, all types, and some of the script ones are wonderful. I regularly use a smattering of the 250 fonts I have active on my computer. But there is nothing as heartwarming as a hand written, cursive personal letter. Sure beats any computer font.


  8. Another reason to abolish the NEA. Teaching has become about teachers, not children. They need to get back to the simple basics. Advanced stuff comes after basic stuff in any field. Ever heard of the dumbing down of America? It has been going on for decades.

    I had been a teacher for about 8 years. It became so disgusting I quit. Now I run my own business. Where are the capable employees these days? How in h*ll could we expect our youth to get along in life, let alone study, if they cannot recognize the characters of the alphabet?

  9. Tablets are becoming more and more popular. Starting with Windows XP-Tablet edition, the handwriting recognition is pretty good. Cursive writing works very well as an input method. useful skill to have. I often joked when people would ask “How long does it take to train it to recognize you handwriting?” My reply was “You don’t have to train it, IT trains you to write cursive again!” LOL

  10. I am surprised you are just learning of this trend considering it has been going on for decades.

    My son, now 30 years old was not required to write in high school. In fact they were encouraged to “print” in block letters.

    The reason I asked one of his teachers.

    The reply was a scary one and basically equaled the teacher being lazy.

    The teacher claimed it was too difficult to read cursive and many kids didn’t really know it. So rather then encourage cursive writing to expand their skills, it was discouraged because it was hard for the teacher.

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