Children still learn italics at school

Should Children Still Learn Italic? New laws dictate handwriting in school

Another school year, another intense debate about the fate of cursive in the classroom.

Many schools are now limiting handwriting lessons, finding that children are better able to prepare for the real world, where nimble texting thumbs and quick typing fingers create most of the written communication.

But many children find italicized back on their lesson plan.

In Alabama, Lexi's law - which requires public school students to be able to read legibly in cursive by the end of third grade - went into effect. Dickie Drake sponsored the bill after being hit by something his eldest granddaughter Lexi said.

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“She was in first grade and wanted to learn 'real writing',” Drake told TODAY parents. “After doing a lot of research on schools in the state of Alabama, I found that it was not taught anywhere in the state - hit and miss. ... This bill is for all of my grandchildren and others just like them. "

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Italic writing has always been a requirement in the state, but the new law requires schools to certify that they meet performance standards, said Erica Pippins Franklin, a spokeswoman for the Alabama State Department of Education. The goal is for children to be able not only to write in script, but also to read historical letters and documents, she added.

A similar mood prevailed in Louisiana, where Governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill in June that provided for public schooling to begin in the 2017/2018 school year. Classes must start in third grade and be part of the curriculum up to 12th grade.

Is italic a victim of the digital era?

Sep 08,201302: 40

Many critics of the trend to declare outdated notation point to the Common Core State Standards. The initiative was launched in 2010 and has been adopted by 42 states and the District of Columbia. The initiative requires keyboarding skills but does not mention cursive writing, leading many school districts to limit or drop handwritten instructions.

A national survey of 612 elementary school teachers found that 41 percent stopped using cursive script in their lesson plans.

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"I would definitely be sad if they took it off their curriculum," said Lyla Gleason, whose 6-year-old daughter will be starting out in New York this fall.

"Even if these kids type mostly when they grow up, I still want her to learn to script."

Some states respond to parents' complaints by revising national standards and creating their own rules. In May, according to the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation, 15 states had to have italicized in their core curriculum standards.

Some parents were skeptical.

"Is this handwriting based on anything other than the argument that we learned it and turned out well?" Wrote Jarvis DeBerry, a father and assistant editor of the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, in a June column entitled, “It's Louisiana's new italic mandate is hard to understand. "

"It would be nice if my daughter learned italic, but not at the expense of falling behind her colleagues around the world whose fingers will be flying over the keys."

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Advantages and disadvantages of italic in the 21st century curriculum

Sep 08,201302: 52

Others rejected arguments that are italicized so that a child can sign their name, read the United States Constitution, and develop important skills. All it takes is some type of penmanship, like printing, which kids are still learning in school, they notice.

"If you shake up the arguments, it becomes clear that the driving force that keeps italics alive is really just nostalgia and romance," a column from stated in June.

"For the average person, it's a skill that is unlikely to be maintained and definitely not needed."

The debate continues.

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