Is Common Core losing the public perception test?

"The education standards called Common Core have been adopted in more than 40 states, but according to a Phi Delta Kappa (PDK)/Gallup pollreleased Wednesday, the majority of Americans oppose them."

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Greg Long's picture

Seriously, is cursive handwriting really an issue anywhere anymore? I'm not sure why the alternatives are Common Core or learning cursive/rote memorization. My children are in 10th and 7th grades in a Christian school, and yes they learned how to print and write in cursive in the lower el grades, that hasn't ever been an issue for as long as I can remember.

So please don't draw this false dichotomy that if you're against Common Core you're basically wanting to go back to one-room schoolhouses with kids sitting ramrod straight printing on their slate boards while waiting their turns at recitation, before writing going home and writing poetry in cursive with their quills and ink, "Thomas Jefferson style."

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Greg Long's picture

And forgive me if I'm confused, but isn't this the GregH who basically has often dismissed the comments of others on music because they aren't musicians or don't have formal music training? So why should we not apply this same standard to you, Greg, when it comes to the field of education?

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

The practice of cursive has some value in that it exercises fine motor skills, but I don't think teaching it, especially for nostalgia's sake, it a legitimate reason to oppose CCS.

I sometimes type up samples of poetry in a variety of fonts to help my kids learn to read different kinds of handwriting, which is a valuable skill sometimes akin to code-breaking if you are trying to read your child's medical charts. Wink

Larry's picture

Moderator

Just to clarify, my point about handwriting is not handwriting for the sake of beautiful penmanship, though I think there is value to the disicpline of writing neatly as one learns. But so much more is involved, such as spelling, composition, legibility, expression, etc.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Larry,

To be fair, the other stuff you are lumping in with had writing are actually part ot he language arts curriculum, not the hand writing curriculum.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Larry wrote:

But so much more is involved, such as spelling, composition, legibility, expression, etc.

All of which (except for legibility, which would no longer be an issue) can be taught and learned when composing via typing instead of by handwriting.  I have certainly always valued good spelling, composition, and expression, and I expected my kids to learn and do those well.  I do realize that spell-checkers can be misused, but it's fairly easy to disable them or use a program that doesn't have them until you are sure that spelling skills have been mastered.

In fact, although using computers for that purpose was very rare when I was in college, pretty much everything in the way of papers was expected to be typed (and neatly, which was much harder with manual correction), and most images of authors and journalists showed people pounding away on typewriters.  Handwriting was for math and lab assignments.  And yeah, they had to be legible and fairly neat, but not picture perfect.

Dave Barnhart

dgszweda's picture

Susan R wrote:

The practice of cursive has some value in that it exercises fine motor skills, but I don't think teaching it, especially for nostalgia's sake, it a legitimate reason to oppose CCS.

I sometimes type up samples of poetry in a variety of fonts to help my kids learn to read different kinds of handwriting, which is a valuable skill sometimes akin to code-breaking if you are trying to read your child's medical charts. Wink

 

It isn't, but it is just an example.  Most Christian schools still teach it.  While at the end of the day, the reality is that most of us spend less than 5% of our writing via handwriting.  I rarely use a pen or pencil, and the same for my kids.  If you really think about it.  To be successful in today's society, penmanship would not even come close to making the list.  My penmanship, nor have I seen anyone's penmanship as of late be any kind of element in their daily work schedule or even in society.  You could even make the point that it is possible to go through life and really never touch a writing utensil.  The only point I am making is just because traditions were great when we are growing up, doesn't mean they are always great.  we really need to look at what is needed in terms of learning is required to be successful.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

dgszweda wrote:

 

Susan R wrote:

 

The practice of cursive has some value in that it exercises fine motor skills, but I don't think teaching it, especially for nostalgia's sake, it a legitimate reason to oppose CCS.

I sometimes type up samples of poetry in a variety of fonts to help my kids learn to read different kinds of handwriting, which is a valuable skill sometimes akin to code-breaking if you are trying to read your child's medical charts. Wink

 

 

 

It isn't, but it is just an example.  Most Christian schools still teach it.  While at the end of the day, the reality is that most of us spend less than 5% of our writing via handwriting.  I rarely use a pen or pencil, and the same for my kids.  If you really think about it.  To be successful in today's society, penmanship would not even come close to making the list.  My penmanship, nor have I seen anyone's penmanship as of late be any kind of element in their daily work schedule or even in society.  You could even make the point that it is possible to go through life and really never touch a writing utensil.  The only point I am making is just because traditions were great when we are growing up, doesn't mean they are always great.  we really need to look at what is needed in terms of learning is required to be successful.

Ok, Dave, now you're getting a little carried away. Obviously I use penmanship every day as a teacher. I did as a business owner and a flooring installer too. I even needed it when I was delivering pizza. Yes, most people write less and some people may not write much of anything anymore, but it's hardly an obsolete skill.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Greg Long's picture

Dave, what do you mean by "most Christian schools still teach it"? At what age? For how many years? What percentage of schools?

Again, my boys have attended Christian school throughout their schooling and I really don't think it has been any kind of significant portion of their education beyond just learning how to write in early ed. My son uses his laptop/tablet for taking notes in class, etc.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

GregH's picture

Shame on you Dave for coming in and making a statement without being able to give the actual percentage when you say "most" Smile

To help out a bit, if you are doing the BJU or A Beka curriculum as they recommend, you are still spending time on handwriting at least through the sixth grade. And I am not talking about spelling, expression, grammar, or composition. I am talking about making beautiful E's and Z's in cursive because it is such an important life skill.

dgszweda's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

dgszweda wrote:

 

Susan R wrote:

 

The practice of cursive has some value in that it exercises fine motor skills, but I don't think teaching it, especially for nostalgia's sake, it a legitimate reason to oppose CCS.

I sometimes type up samples of poetry in a variety of fonts to help my kids learn to read different kinds of handwriting, which is a valuable skill sometimes akin to code-breaking if you are trying to read your child's medical charts. Wink

 

 

 

It isn't, but it is just an example.  Most Christian schools still teach it.  While at the end of the day, the reality is that most of us spend less than 5% of our writing via handwriting.  I rarely use a pen or pencil, and the same for my kids.  If you really think about it.  To be successful in today's society, penmanship would not even come close to making the list.  My penmanship, nor have I seen anyone's penmanship as of late be any kind of element in their daily work schedule or even in society.  You could even make the point that it is possible to go through life and really never touch a writing utensil.  The only point I am making is just because traditions were great when we are growing up, doesn't mean they are always great.  we really need to look at what is needed in terms of learning is required to be successful.

Ok, Dave, now you're getting a little carried away. Obviously I use penmanship every day as a teacher. I did as a business owner and a flooring installer too. I even needed it when I was delivering pizza. Yes, most people write less and some people may not write much of anything anymore, but it's hardly an obsolete skill.

Now I have a better idea of where you coming from. My days are mostly filled with meetings. I go weeks and weeks without seeing a single notepad or pen in a meeting. Yes, some people use a pen and pencil every now and then, but if you think it is not disappearing, than you are very disconnected.

dgszweda's picture

Greg Long wrote:

Dave, what do you mean by "most Christian schools still teach it"? At what age? For how many years? What percentage of schools?

Again, my boys have attended Christian school throughout their schooling and I really don't think it has been any kind of significant portion of their education beyond just learning how to write in early ed. My son uses his laptop/tablet for taking notes in class, etc.

Most teach it, because it is in the major Christian school curriculums. It was a big issue for us, because I transferred my children from public school to Christian School (and this was not a no name school, but one of the largest in the nation), and my children did not have cursive. A few of the grades we were transferring our kids into had heavy cursive writing in the classroom. After some disagreements with the Administration , they gave us an exception. The teacher agreed it was essentially dead, but it was in the curriculum.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

dgszweda wrote:

 

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

 

dgszweda wrote:

 

Susan R wrote:

 

The practice of cursive has some value in that it exercises fine motor skills, but I don't think teaching it, especially for nostalgia's sake, it a legitimate reason to oppose CCS.

I sometimes type up samples of poetry in a variety of fonts to help my kids learn to read different kinds of handwriting, which is a valuable skill sometimes akin to code-breaking if you are trying to read your child's medical charts. Wink

 

 

 

It isn't, but it is just an example.  Most Christian schools still teach it.  While at the end of the day, the reality is that most of us spend less than 5% of our writing via handwriting.  I rarely use a pen or pencil, and the same for my kids.  If you really think about it.  To be successful in today's society, penmanship would not even come close to making the list.  My penmanship, nor have I seen anyone's penmanship as of late be any kind of element in their daily work schedule or even in society.  You could even make the point that it is possible to go through life and really never touch a writing utensil.  The only point I am making is just because traditions were great when we are growing up, doesn't mean they are always great.  we really need to look at what is needed in terms of learning is required to be successful.

 

Ok, Dave, now you're getting a little carried away. Obviously I use penmanship every day as a teacher. I did as a business owner and a flooring installer too. I even needed it when I was delivering pizza. Yes, most people write less and some people may not write much of anything anymore, but it's hardly an obsolete skill.

 

Now I have a better idea of where you coming from. My days are mostly filled with meetings. I go weeks and weeks without seeing a single notepad or pen in a meeting. Yes, some people use a pen and pencil every now and then, but if you think it is not disappearing, than you are very disconnected.

I agree it is diminished, but I honestly don't see a future where it is gone completely, ever. There are always things to be written, and technology isn't always available and convenient. 

 

It has been fun following the rabbit trail, but really, penmanship has nothing to do with Common Core. I'll go back to the point Dave, I think it was Dave, made about the importance of a liberal arts education. The point of liberal arts is to prepare a young person to be an independently thinking and functioning adult in the world, regardless of the arena in which they find themselves vocationally. Anyone who tries to reduce traditional teaching down to nothing more than rote memorization and drill is sadly misinformed. Certainly, memorization plays an important foundational role, but it is only the beginning. This is just another problem with progressive education in general and Common Core in particular. Dewey changed the focus of education from the transfer of knowledge to the building of community. Absolute truth was replaced by relative, individually constructed reality. This is the fundamental reason for the "discovery" learning and group work emphasis in the modern public school. Sadly, this is described as being much more like the real world, but in reality it has nothing to do with reality. In the real world, people bring their own sets of knowledge and tools to the tale when the re going to work together. In progressive education, and Common core specifically, they pool their ignorance and grope in the dark together. A 2006 meta-analysis reviewing 50 years of research (found here) found that there isn't a single study out there that shows this is a good way to introduce students to material. Yet, the theory keeps resurfacing every 10 years or so under a different name. No matter how you look at common core, it is a disaster using our nation's kids as guinea pigs.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Larry's picture

Moderator

I find myself writing by hand more now than I have in the past ten years. It's easier for a lot of things. And like Dave, I remember the days of actually typing things on a real typewriter. I think keyboarding is essential these days. I took typing (when it was still called that) in high school and it has been indispensable. I am not a fan of spending hours learning to write perfect cursive. But there's nothing wrong with actually learning penmanship. Legible writing is not a bad thing. Writing is essential, and if one is going to learn to write, one should learn to write neatly. It also provides a good foundation of discipline for other things. There is no virtue in sloppiness.

But it's part of a bigger picture. Writing will never go away, at least in the lifetime of our children. So it won't hurt to teach them how. Our lives aren't worse because we learned to write decently, and it's doubtful we missed anything needful while learning to write. But alas, that is a bit of a rabbit trail here.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Pen and paper still has the general advantage of portability and ease of use, and no worries about the life of the battery. I don't always have my phone handy, or my Chromebook, even though they are small and portable. But I have whiteboards all over the house, and keep Post-it Notes everywhere. I like taking notes in small notebooks and on Post It Notes when I'm reading as well.

My kids do penmanship until they have mastered how to form letters, and then they have enough written schoolwork to give them plenty of practice - it isn't necessary, IMO, to have year after year of penmanship courses. That said, my 17 yo son doesn't like his handwriting, and is using a penmanship book to improve it. 

As for the handwriting vs keyboarding debate - just like printed books vs ebooks, the use of one does not dictate the extinction of the other. 

Rob Fall's picture

In high school, my cursive handwriting was so bad; my English teacher told me I could print.  I then developed my own "font".  When I was stationed in Astoria, Oregon, I bought a book on copperplate handwriting and spent the winter learning it.

Susan R wrote:

Pen and paper still has the general advantage of portability and ease of use, and no worries about the life of the battery. I don't always have my phone handy, or my Chromebook, even though they are small and portable. But I have whiteboards all over the house, and keep Post-it Notes everywhere. I like taking notes in small notebooks and on Post It Notes when I'm reading as well.

My kids do penmanship until they have mastered how to form letters, and then they have enough written schoolwork to give them plenty of practice - it isn't necessary, IMO, to have year after year of penmanship courses. That said, my 17 yo son doesn't like his handwriting, and is using a penmanship book to improve it. 

As for the handwriting vs keyboarding debate - just like printed books vs ebooks, the use of one does not dictate the extinction of the other. 

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

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