Cumberland Times-News

Local News

April 5, 2013

Local educators favor cursive instruction

CUMBERLAND — Despite a lack of support on the national level for instruction in cursive writing, local educators continue to teach and support the handwriting form that they see as an important communication tool in American society.

Could you imagine your son or daughter, or any young person, not being able to read the original letters of Abraham Lincoln? The current trend to move away from teaching cursive in the schools might just make that a reality.

“The main benefit of cursive is so students have options and a level of competence about how they read and record information,” said Dee Blank, the elementary supervisor for the Allegany County Public School System.

Since the Common Core State Standards Initiative began in 2009, the teaching of cursive handwriting is no longer seen as a priority with national and some state education officials.

With national standards no longer requiring cursive to be taught in school, state and local districts have become the final guardian of the handwriting form.

Allegany County has decided to continue teaching cursive for now, according to Blank.

“The ACPS believes that cursive should be taught. Students receive formal cursive instruction in the second and third grade,” Blank said.

However, national standards do require a student by fourth grade to be able to complete a one-page assignment using a keyboard.

“I don’t think we should dispose of it (cursive) simply because of the digital age,” said Janet Gregory, principal at Yough Glade Elementary School in Garrett County.

Gregory said that cursive is taught in third grade at Yough Glade and feels it should remain a part of the elementary education curriculum.

The fact that the digital age and keyboards are here to stay is not lost on Blank.

“Many assessments are online and require students from grades 3 to 11 to complete test items electronically,” said Blank.

Maryland is in the process of implementing the new common core curriculum for 2014, which will include testing known as the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career.

The assessment of the keyboarding skills of elementary students is a direction that Maryland continues to research.

Advocates of the elimination of cursive cite the availability of reading materials in electronic form as a reason for no longer needing cursive.

“There are situations when electronic resources are not available, so pen and paper is still a viable option,” said Blank.

Blank said for many students the act of writing notes using pen and paper assists them in internalizing the information.

Supporters of eliminating cursive say that even the need for a signature is coming to an end.

They say mortgages are starting to be closed without signatures and that eye and fingerprint scanning will replace the signature.

Candy Maust, the principal of Route 40 Elementary School in Garrett County, favors cursive and penmanship.

“I think (cursive) is important and it also needs to be legible,” said Maust.

“We have to strike a healthy balance between education and what will be expected of children. We are about college and career readiness,” said Maust.

Gregory said she finds that knowing how a letter is formed and being able to read it is important.

“It’s nice to write notes. I think it means more when something is handwritten,” said Gregory.

Greg Larry can be contacted at

Text Only
Local News
  •  Easter grass Easter grass

    Kamryn Rice, 7, of Flintstone, finds and bags a plastic egg during Cumberland’s annual Easter Egg Hunt Saturday afternoon at Constitution Park. Hosted by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, along with students from Frostburg State University’s Recreation and Parks Management program and the 4-H Youth of Allegany County, the afternoon also included games, relay races, face painting, temporary tattoos, arts and crafts, and a petting zoo sponsored by the 4-H Hare Raiser Club, as well as a visit from the Easter Bunny. The eggs contained candy and other treats.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Business community wary of minimum wage increases

    CUMBERLAND — Allegany County businesses are certain to be impacted by the increase in Maryland’s minimum wage, set to reach $10.10 an hour by July 2018 under a law championed by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

    April 20, 2014

  • Tipped workers left behind in pay hike action

    ANNAPOLIS — Many minimum wage workers will be getting a raise now that a hike to Maryland’s wage has been signed into law. But while advocates are ascribing the increase as a win, there’s a bitter aftertaste for one group that was left behind.

    April 20, 2014

  • Views vary among Americans when it comes to hourly rate

    CUMBERLAND — Even among those who have worked minimum wage jobs, views on the minimum wage can differ.
    “Minimum wage has to exist. There is no question there, so whatever it is, it will be called ‘minimum wage’. But it should not be below a living wage,” said Bonita Quick of Cumberland.

    April 20, 2014

  • Income guideline change will increase WIC recipients

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Raised income eligibility guidelines for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children will increase the number of those served in West Virginia by about 10 percent, according to the state health officer.

    April 20, 2014

  • Absentee ballots moving online causes security concerns

    ANNAPOLIS — Voters may get to skip the lines at the polls this summer by receiving and marking their ballots online, but election officials must first decide if the convenience outweighs the security risks.

    April 20, 2014

  • Allegany County emergency medical services honorees and supporters Allegany, Garrett emergency responders honored

    MCHENRY — The 75 people from Allegany and Garrett counties who were involved with two exceptional emergency medical services calls in 2013 were presented with awards at the recent Night for Stars program held at the Wisp Resort.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lexis Trickett meets with Gov. Martin O’Malley Ninth-grader among 30 at inaugural event

    OAKLAND — Lexis Trickett, a ninth-grade student at Southern Garrett High School, was among 30 girls who attended Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Leadership Forum for Women and Girls recently in Annapolis in celebration of Women’s History Month.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • School immunization requirements change

    CUMBERLAND — Changes to school immunization requirements by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene affect students entering kindergarten and seventh grade for the next school year.

    April 20, 2014

  • Easter experience Easter experience

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
News related video
Raw: Obamas Attend Easter Service Raw: Easter Morning Delivery for Space Station Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups