Among the many controversies generated by the Common Core Standards, few generate more emotional debate than the decision to eliminate cursive writing instruction. Montessori educators Bobby George and June George enter the fray armed with the testimony of a famous 19th century scribbler. Their essay was published in Quartz in Sept. 2013.
- George and George mention—but give little explanation of—arguments and reasoning on both sides of the cursive writing debate. What are the arguments they mentioned? Summarize them in separate lists. Why might the authors have chosen to rely more on anecdotal evidence than on any of the statistical or scientific reasoning that abounds in the debate? Is their evidence persuasive? Why or why not?
- Why might the authors have mentioned the NASA space pen? Does it make a positive contribution to their argument? Why or why not?
- George and George give the example of Abraham Lincoln and his awareness that he would be know and judged by the quality of his handwriting; they close their essay by asking what type of mark we want to leave. Without cursive writing, what kinds of marks will we leave? Will our tweets and Facebook timelines be similar to Lincoln’s handwriting? Why or why not?
- Were you taught cursive in elementary school? What is your position on the instruction of cursive writing? Should we discard it from the school curriculum or maintain it? Write an essay in which you elaborate your arguments for or against the instruction of cursive writing in elementary school. Use evidence drawn from your own experience and that of students that you may know; link your evidence to the arguments discussed by George and George.