Cursive writing bill wouldn’t affect studies in Covington Co., Andalusia

Published 12:01 am Friday, March 6, 2015

Local superintendents favor teaching cursive writing to students and if a bill recently introduced in the House passes, it won’t have much effect on two local systems.

Rep. Dickie Drake, R-Jefferson County, introduced a bill on Wednesday that would require teaching of cursive writing to all Alabama students by the third grade. Last year, the Alabama Department of Education recommended schools teach cursive handwriting and reading to students in the second grade.

Currently, both Andalusia City and Covington County Schools teach the writing type.

“I can understand the plight of everybody involved here,” Andalusia City Schools Superintendent Ted Watson said about the issue. “On one hand, the curriculum has grown to such a magnitude that cursive writing is something else to do. I’m sure there are people out there that say well hey, printing is the same thing, like typing, texting and other technical writing, and that there’s really no need to do it.”

Watson said the school system does teach cursive writing in third grade.

“It’s an art form to me,” he said. “I think the bill is intended to preserve that, as far as making sure it’s continued to be taught and graded on.”

“Instruction in handwriting shall include cursive writing so that students are able to create readable documents through legible cursive handwriting by the end of the third grade,” says the proposed amendment, which is House Bill 23.

According to reports, there are no plans to phase out cursive writing, Malissa Valdes-Hubert with the Alabama Department of Education said. The current curriculum is effective until the 2016-2017 school year.

Covington County Schools Superintendent Shannon Driver said he hasn’t had a chance to look at the bill, yet, but cursive writing is emphasized on students that are in the elementary grades.

“We do feel like it’s important,” he said.

Driver said the system starts teaching cursive writing in the second and third grades, but the main grade it’s taught is in the third.

“That’s where they usually emphasize it,” Driver said.