By Hanna Sanchez
Philadelphia City Council Asks Schools To Include Cursive Writing In Curriculum
Philadelphia City Council are pushing for the inclusion of cursive writing in public schools. The School District of Philadelphia recently asked the council for more funding, but the latter said they want to ensure students can read signatures before they agree to sign the district’s request.
The School District of Philadelphia has recently asked the Philadelphia City Council for more funding. However, council members wanted to ensure students can read signatures before they decide to sign the district’s request. They were unimpressed by some aspects of the costly maintenance of city schools and the district’s $80 million budget deficit, but they were most irked by the absence of cursive writing in the school curriculum.
“I want to go on the record and say in capital letters with exclamation points, cursive writing should be mandatory,” said Democratic Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown.
“Children need to sign their names,” she added. “We need to be able to read signatures.”
Cursive is not mandatory in Philadelphia elementary schools. However, Chief Academic Support Officer Donyall Dickey claimed cursive writing remains integrated into the curriculum for early grade levels. Evan Grossman of Watchdog reported that students are not graded specifically on their ability to write in cursive.
Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell of District 3 would like to make cursive writing mandatory, and Dickey said the school district is “open to discussion.” However, Blackwell said having a discussion will not be enough.
“Let me say that is not acceptable,” said Blackwell. “We would expect that by the time we finish our budget deliberation that we may have a specific, affirmative answer to this issue.”
Dickey said technological advancements have taken the attention away from skills, such as handwriting, in public schools. He said most of the students beyond the early grades write using digital devices.
“I think it is important that we teach cursive writing in the early grades, but when you use a word like ‘mandate,’ it sends a message to people that it’s a top-down approach to what happens in the classroom,” he argued.
Since 2010, schools across the state held on to the Common Core educational standards. These standards do not require cursive as part of the public school curriculum. Last year, Pennsylvania adopted its own education standards that left cursive writing instruction up to school districts. School officials, however, said integrating cursive writing into lesson plans would cost money and could consume the time spent on other required learning.
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