Cursive writing is looping back into style in schools after a generation of students who know only keyboarding, texting, and printing words longhand, reports the AP. Alabama and Louisiana passed laws in 2016 mandating cursive proficiency in public schools, the latest of 14 states that require cursive. And last fall, the 1.1 million-student New York City schools, the nation's largest public school system, encouraged the teaching of cursive to students, generally in the third grade. "It's definitely not necessary but I think it's, like, cool to have it," said Emily Ma, a 17-year-old senior at New York City's academically rigorous Stuyvesant High School who had to learn it on her own. Penmanship proponents say cursive is just a faster, easier way of taking notes. Others say students should be able to read cursive, such as, say, a letter from Grandma. And still more say it's a good life skill to have, especially when signing your name.
New York state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis drew the line on the cursive generation gap when she encountered an 18-year-old at a voter registration event who printed his name in block letters. "I said to him, 'No, you have to sign here,'" Malliotakis said. "And he said, 'That is my signature. I never learned script.'" It's hard to pinpoint exactly when cursive writing began to fall out of favor. But cursive instruction was in decline long before 2010, when most states adopted the Common Core curriculum standards, which say nothing about handwriting. Third-graders at P.S. 166 in Queens beamed as they prepared for a cursive lesson this past week. The 8-year-olds got their markers out, straightened their posture, and flexed their wrists. Then it was "swoosh, curl, swoosh, curl," as teacher Christine Weltner guided students. Norzim Lama said he prefers cursive to printing "'cause it looks fancy." Camille Santos said cursive is "actually like doodling a little bit." (Read more cursive stories.)