Fact Check: Schools Did NOT Stop Teaching Cursive So We Couldn't Read The Bill Of Rights Or US Constitution

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Schools Did NOT Stop Teaching Cursive So We Couldn't Read The Bill Of Rights Or US Constitution Quill Obsolete

Did U.S. schools stop teaching cursive writing so that future generations would be unable to read the Bill of Rights or the Constitution? No, that's not true: Schools did not stop. At least 21 states still require that their students learn cursive in elementary school. As keyboard skills gained in importance, school reform measures like the Common Core left out penmanship to make room for other academic content.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on April 6, 2021. It opens with the subject of the video claiming her husband was talking to a Navy veteran when the topic turned to why children don't learn cursive in school anymore. It ended with:

It's because our Constitution, our Bill of Rights is written in cursive, and they no longer want generations from here on out to know how to read it."

This is what the post looked like on Facebook on April 20, 2021:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Apr 20 15:07:57 2021 UTC)

The website, mycursive.com, has a list of the states with links or screenshots of documents that prove it. For example, Alabama starts cursive education in third grade, Maryland starts at second grade and Georgia starts in third.

Lead Stories emailed Steve Graham on April 21, 2021 to ask what happened to cursive writing in public school curriculum. Graham is a professor at Arizona State University's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College who has studied writing instruction for more than 30 years. He wrote back to say schools stopped setting aside time for cursive when the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), were first introduced in 2010 and were adopted by 41 states, Washington D.C. and four U.S. territories. These standards instituted earlier print goals for kindergarten and first grade, he wrote.

Teachers already have a list of required goals for what they must teach their students, so teaching both print and cursive seemed excessive, Graham said. "There is also the question of whether you need to teach two different scripts in an overcrowded curriculum when one will do the job quite well," he said.

People who can write in print can read cursive handwriting with some practice, he said.

Also, transcripts of the Bill of Rights and Constitution are also available in plain text.

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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