"I've read articles from other media sources stating that if you walk into an elementary school you won't see kids working on their loops; you'll see them keyboarding," Curriculum Coordinator Kathy Knust told The Brazil Times. "I want to make it clear that that is not completely accurate for most schools, certainly not for our schools."
Knust wants to reassure area citizens CCS teachers will continue to give cursive writing instruction for the 2011-12 school year.
"The amount of time spent teaching cursive writing has decreased over time anyways, but to say that we are going to completely replace the block of time used for cursive writing with a block of keyboarding is inaccurate," Knust said. "Clay Community Schools are above average when it comes to technological resources, but it would still be very difficult to accommodate all students with a lab computer and get all the requirements in. It's just not feasible."
Knust also explained the state's goal is to get all students proficient in keyboarding and move all standardized tests to online formats.
"Most labs are already tied up doing testing and providing designated classroom lab time. Most schools would find requiring all students to keyboard everyday in place of cursive to be very difficult," Knust told The Brazil Times.
New state standards in the Indiana Common Core Curriculum, formerly known as No Child Left Behind Act, for second-fourth-grades do not include cursive writing.
However, the state has also given local schools the option to make their own decisions regarding whether or not to continue teaching the literary art.
The Indiana state Director of Curriculum and Instruction Schauna Findlay sent school officials around the state a memo regarding curriculum changes.
"Indiana's Academic Standards for English Language Arts include cursive writing in the third-grade. The Common Core State Standards do not include cursive writing at all. Instead, students are expected to become proficient with keyboarding skills," the document reads. "Schools may decide to continue to teach cursive as a local standard, or they may decide to stop teaching cursive next year."
Knust added, "I imagine that if you are part of a school that has to choose between teaching your students reading, writing and mathematics or cursive writing, you are going to choose teaching the core subjects, but we are not in that position," Knust stated.
According to the Indiana Department of Education, the standards are:
* Second-grade -- "With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers,"
* Third-grade -- "With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboard skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others," and
* Fourth-grade -- "With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting."
Knust expressed concerns regarding the specificity of these standards.
"The goals are not specific enough. What is the expectation for the end of the year?" Knust asked. "We need clear expectations."
She added CCS teachers and administrators have discussed their beliefs, studied the research regarding cursive writing and realistically examined if one more thing can be added to instructional time without the removal of another.
"The reality is that teaching cursive writing to mastery level is very time consuming," Knust said. "And with computers and other forms of technology being commonplace today proper penmanship is on decline. We now live in a world where e-mails have long replaced written letters and texts are quickly replacing handwritten notes."
However, Knust said CCS does not believe cursive writing should be eliminated from curriculum.
"It is the goal of Clay Community Schools to continue to introduce students to cursive writing and make certain they can properly sign their names in cursive and read hand-written documents," Knust told The Brazil Times.
She also said she wants to make sure students still have time for other types of developmental instruction.
"We don't want to take away the opportunity for the students to explore, problem solve, work on projects and do research utilizing technology," Knust said. "Those things are also very important aspects of a learning environment."
More information on curriculum changes and other educational news is available at https://learningconnection.doe.in.gov/lo....