When longtime Tanglewood Elementary teacher Lou Quattrucci was in grammar school, he used to spend months perfecting his cursive signature. That doesn’t happen today.
“By the time kids get to my fifth-grade class, some of them don’t know how to do their signature in cursive,” said Quattrucci, a 29-year teaching veteran. “They know how to print their name in block letters because that’s how they read on computers. But they don’t know cursive.”
Cursive, that old mainstay of grammar school, is being de-emphasized in Florida’s public schools. Keyboarding skills, not cursive, are part of the Common Core academic standards adopted last year by more than 40 states, including Florida. The Sunshine State kept cursive in third, fourth and fifth grades this year, but that mandate could change as Florida moves toward its Common Core, a national curriculum that provides set educational standards in math and English.
The state believes keyboarding skills will better prepare students for the future workforce, but the shift means future students might not learn in school how to sign their names or read cursive.
“It’s sad,” said Cheryl MacKinnon, who has two children at Island Coast High in Cape Coral. “I understand why they’re doing it because my kids are quick on the keyboards. But it’s sad it’s coming at the price of handwriting. Maybe handwriting will be something we teach them at home.”