Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

April 10, 2013

Penmanship not a priority

By Leeann Akers - Editor

April 10, 2013 —     The National Core education standards make no mention of penmanship. In fact, cursive writing isn’t mentioned at all.

    In Carter County, cursive writing is taught to all second grade students. But teaching someone to paint a fence does not make them an artist.

    “You can see a large decrease in people who actually practice cursive writing and I think that is because very few people sit down and actually write, with pen and ink, something that will be shown to others,” Carter Schools Supt. Ronnie Dotson told the Journal-Times.

    “Most people do everything electronically and I think schools across the state, and I expect across the nation, no longer place a lot of emphasis on penmanship,” he added.

    After a child learns to print and write cursive, it becomes a personal choice on which they would prefer to use.

    Dotson said it is more important that a child be able to write legibly, read and comprehend what they are reading.

    Cursive writing is practically hidden in the curriculum, however. Students are expected to read their teachers' writing when working in other subjects.

    The change in emphasis is no doubt a direct effect of the fast paced digital world, which has grown so much in the last decade.

    “We have computers in every classroom so children are on a computer each day,” Dotson said. “There isn't really a keyboarding class at the grade school level but those skills are taught in middle and high school.”

    He expects cursive to be addressed in schools sooner rather than later. Studies have shown a direct correlation between cursive and reading comprehension, as well as memorization.

    When thinking about education, what is given the most emphasis is evolving as rapidly as the technology that has put penmanship on a back burner.

    “If you asked a teacher to show you an example of the end-of-the-year second grade work 20 years ago, you would be shown a beautiful written paper,” Dotson said. “Now, we might show you math problems, or something that was written by a student, but not so much importance would be given to their handwriting.”

    For the present, Dotson said the school children of Carter County are learning cursive writing but the art of penmanship is no longer a priority.

    Leeann Akers can be reached at or by phone at 474-5101.