It is no longer so obvious to learn to write in cursive during the first years of school. The digital revolution has had a major impact on global education systems, leading to the near extinction of cursive in several areas of the world, in favor of teaching typing. Yet, in California the wind is changing: bill 446, signed into law in October, stands in contrast to the anti-italic trend that has characterized the American state for years.
The reasons behind the new law
Starting this year, two and a half million Californian children, aged between six and twelve, will have to take cursive writing lessons. The proposal, which became law, was put forward by former elementary school teacher Sharon Quirk-Silva, with the aim of improving the intellectual development of the little ones. “The ability to sign your name in cursive is important for future job applications, writing checks, signing medical forms, obtaining driver’s licenses and voting,” says Quirk-Silva. The former teacher is not the only one convinced of the great advantages of learning to write cursive. “If you want your child to have the optimal ability to learn, remember and synthesize information, you will want them to focus on handwriting and cursive,” Stockton Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Michelle Rodriguez said, adding: “The use of pen and paper allows you to have more connections for memories and learning”.
Before the law
In 2010, US elementary schools implemented the Common Core Standards, which included increased use of computers, but no reference to cursive writing – a skill often absent even among teachers.
Even in Italy the situation is critical: a research conducted in 2023 by the Policlinico Umberto I, in collaboration with the Sapienza University of Rome, had highlighted the inability of one in five Roman students to write in cursive.