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Some states preserve penmanship despite tech gains

Some states have added a cursive writing requirement to the Common Core standards, while most others have left it as optional for school districts.

The pen might not be as mighty as the keyboard these days, but California and a handful of states are not giving up on handwriting entirely.

Bucking a growing trend of eliminating cursive writing from elementary school curriculums or making it optional, California is among the states keeping longhand as a third-grade staple.

The state’s posture on penmanship is not likely to undercut its place at the leading edge of technology, but it has teachers and students divided over the value of learning flowing script and looping signatures in an age of touch pads and mobile devices.

Some see it as a waste of time, an anachronism in a digitized society where even signatures are electronic, but others see it as necessary so kids can hone fine motor skills, reinforce literacy, and develop their own unique stamp of identity.

The debate comes as 45 states move toward adopting national Common Core standards in 2014 for English and math that don’t include cursive writing, but require proficiency in computer keyboarding by the time pupils exit elementary school.

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