Cursive May Soon Be Back On The Curriculum In Minnesota Schools

A new bill would tie grant funding to cursive instruction.

stock photo of a child writing in cursive
Gregory Johnston / Shutterstock

A new bill would tie grant funding to cursive instruction.

Cursive may be back on the schedule in some Minnesota schools after a lawmaker proposed offering up some grant money to schools willing to teach the once-necessary skill, MPR News is reporting.

For years now, schools across the country have been pulling cursive from the curriculum for a variety of reasons. With the ever-expanding plate of skills elementary-school kids need to have under their belts – keyboarding and internet safety, for example – classroom instruction time is limited, and something has to go. Then there’s the fact that cursive’s usefulness in this day and age is a matter of debate – more on that in a few paragraphs. And of course, there’s the old bugaboo money: classroom instruction time and materials cost money, and these days public schools scratch and claw for every dime. Spending those dimes on what many see as an archaic and outdated discipline simply isn’t in the cards.

That’s why in Minnesota, most schools have dropped teaching cursive.

Not all parents and educators have been happy with that decision. Just ask Senator Ann Rest, who recently sent a handwritten note to a teenage constituent.

“He said, ‘You’ll have to read this to me.’ I understand that penmanship is a hard skill for a lot of young people, but they at least ought to be able to read it.”

Rest looked into what other states are doing and found that at least a dozen and some change have language on the books aimed in one way or another at preserving cursive instruction in the classroom.

She has since introduced a bill in the Minnesota Senate that would direct the Department of Education to come up with a cursive curriculum and get it on the books. Schools that opt to teach cursive would qualify for grants, although the size of those grants remains to be determined.

Across the country, many educators and parents aren’t happy with the fact that something that was ubiquitous – indeed a critically-useful life skill – has gone the way of doily-making. As noted in an MPR News report from 2018, Loop Haro was appalled when he learned Minnesota kids weren’t learning cursive. Having grown up going through old, hand-written documents kept by his older relatives, he thought that at the very least kids should be able to read what their forebearers wrote.

It’s a sentiment shared by Rest.

“Young people should be able to read the documents of our country without having to stand there looking ignorant and waiting for someone to type it out on a keyboard.”

Haro, for his part, has started cursive classes of his own – for adults.