Curse cursive and give me my keyboard

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Like many schools nationwide, a district in Spokane is altering its curriculum, in order to help students meet Common Core State Standards. More math fundamentals and nonfiction texts make sense, at least in terms of the district’s goal.

Increasing practice in cursive writing, though, is perplexing, bordering on downright odd.

The district’s superintendent, citing unknown research, claims that cursive writing increases memory retention, brain development and fine motor skills. As my mouth was forming the word, “poppycock,” I decided to test this research.

via: my iPhone

I grabbed a blank sheet of paper and pen and began writing in cursive — something I don’t ever do, unless signing my name. As I wrote, I considered the research. Were my motor skills improving? Look at the picture above, and you’ll see that they didn’t. My brain wasn’t developing, at least not that I could feel.

Was my memory improving? If so, I forgot how much.

The idea that a school district would increase practice in the archaic skill of cursive reinforces one of my long held beliefs: some research really needs to be ignored.

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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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