Cursive comes back: Bill signed requires cursive to be taught in California schools

Once, the so-called scholastic "3 R’s" included the now defunct art of writing – in cursive. The flowing, connected loops of letters have, for centuries, brought class and an enhanced distinctive style to penmanship.

"I remember when we were doing it in elementary school it took a lot of practice of learning how to do just the ‘a’s’ and the capital and lowercase letters of it… it was a lot," said Adelle Amador, whose two young children attend a San Jose Unified School District elementary school.

The early part of the 21st century produced an inflection point in how people communicate. Texting and email have supplanted the pen, causing cursive to start a slow fade from memory.

"I realized over the last decade that about half the students were learning it, and half weren’t," said Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva.

An educator turned legislator, Quirk-Silva believed it was time to make the past present. So, earlier this year, she authored -- and California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed -- AB 446.


San Jose City Council approves deal that will convert hotel rooms into student housing

SJSU Cares says 11% of students reported experiencing homelessness at some point in 2020.

The bill, which is now law, mandates that certain courses of study such as English, and certain skill sets, like handwriting in cursive, be taught to California students between first and sixth grades. Quirk-Silva said learning such a skill can have lasting benefits."

"Many of our historical documents, but also our family history, is in cursive," she said.

"The goal would be that they could read and write it hopefully by the time they’re entering junior high."

The new law, which takes effect in the new year, will mean adding another item to a teacher’s lesson plan.

"Who knows, some of the teachers now don’t even know how to," said SJUSD teacher Christina Munoz. "It could be learning for both because a lot of our young teachers are pretty young now. They’re like in their early 20s, and they weren’t raised with that."

So the cooperative walk into the future features a shared path of learning, that will script the next chapter in education.

Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter), @JesseKTVU and on Instagram, @jessegontv