No need for cursive in a digital world?

The Nov. 12 article by The Eagle’s Suzanne Perez Tobias on whether Kansas schools still teach cursive writing drew the attention of Washington Post blogger Alexandra Petri, whose response was headlined, “Abandon penmanship!” To Kansas State Board of Education member Walt Chappell’s contention that “there are all kinds of situations where you have to know how to write longhand,” Petri declared: “Nonsense! As an exercise, writing things by hand is up there with cobbling shoes and shoeing horses. If your only justification for the need to teach something in schools is that ‘if the power goes out, dang, won’t it be useful to have crossbows,’ possibly it is obsolete.” Last week, the state board heard a report that 90 percent of districts still teach cursive writing at the elementary level. The new Common Core standards for English do not include cursive writing, but the state board could decide to add it to Kansas’ version.