Kentucky students would be required to learn cursive for the first time under revised state standards under review that also include new standards for calculus.
Under Senate Bill 1, wide-ranging education legislation that was signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin in April, the Kentucky Department of Education must begin reviewing all academic standards and their assessments in the 2017-18 school year. One or two content areas are to be reviewed each year and every six years on a rotating basis, according to the Kentucky Department of Education.
“I think any time that we go back and look at what we’re doing and try to make it better is a good thing,” said Cindy Beals, the high school instructional supervisor and district assessment coordinator for Warren County Public Schools.
The state will collect public feedback on the English language arts and mathematics standards until Sept. 15, and going forward, educators will be heavily involved in the standards review process through grade-level advisory panels that also include higher education representatives.
Those panels will recommend changes to a Standards and Assessment Review Development Committee, which is also made up of public school educators and higher education representatives. The standards go through another committee made of members appointed by the governor and General Assembly before ultimately being approved by the state’s board of education. The public will also get to comment.
For Beals, involving educators and the general public is a positive. Additionally, while she sees cursive as a useful skill, she’s concerned it may take up too much instruction time that could be better used elsewhere.
“There’s only so many hours in a day so I don’t know what we’re going to have to take out to put it in,” she said.
“It’s great if anyone can read cursive,” she said. “Can we get by without it? Absolutely.”
Leslie Birdwhistell, a parent with a daughter in eighth grade and a son in college, also said the skill is useful but doesn’t think it’s worth giving up more important priorities. Her son hasn’t been adversely affected by not knowing the skill, she said.
“ There’s just other things that could be done with that time,” such as art and more recess time, she said. “I would like to see those restored from where they’ve been cut over the years.”