An update on policies regarding the instruction of handwriting.

Learning how to form letters and words on paper has been a feature of American schools since the days of inkwells. But with the proliferation of personal computers in the 1990s and smartphones and tablets in the 21st century, many educators and policymakers have been questioning the usefulness of spending ever-more-valuable class time teaching handwriting to students who have been born into—and will live and work in—a digital world. At the same time, new research has been emerging that points to the educational value of handwriting in ways that go well beyond being able to read cursive or take notes without benefit of a handheld device.

Today, after the English Language Arts (ELA) section of the Common Core State Standards arrived without standards for cursive writing, the debate has come to state boards of education, who must decide whether to include handwriting standards in the extra 15 percent allowed them under the Common Core agreement or leave the issue to the discretion of districts.

This Policy Update

  1. looks at handwriting in schools today;
  2. examines the pros and cons of the debate, particularly in light of research;
  3. reviews some key policy considerations around handwriting;
  4. provides examples of state actions in this area; and
  5. includes resources for more information.

Continue reading by downloading the Policy Update (below).