Amidst concerns and challenges plaguing California’s education system, there’s a glimmer of positivity slated for 2024.
Recent reports highlighted worrisome trends within California’s educational landscape. Data unveiled in October revealed that a mere 35% of students met or surpassed state benchmarks in math, while less than 47% achieved similar standards in English language arts during the 2022-23 academic year. These figures persistently lag behind pre-pandemic levels. The state Board of Education’s overhaul of the math framework in July is expected to exacerbate the situation, potentially hindering students’ access to advanced math courses.
However, beginning January 1, a beacon of hope emerges: a new mandate requiring elementary school students to learn cursive writing, enacted through legislation signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom.
In contrast to subjects like computer science and math, often linked to lucrative career prospects and pivotal to modern technology, cursive writing might appear outdated and inconsequential. Some question the relevance of teaching intricate handwritten script in an era dominated by digital communication. They ponder the necessity of diverting educational resources from more contemporary and crucial subjects to impart a skill seemingly obsolete, save for hastily scrawled signatures on formal documents and receipts.
Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, faced these queries when introducing the cursive writing bill, which had previously failed to gain legislative approval. Yet, leveraging her extensive experience of over 30 years in elementary education, Quirk-Silva ardently contends that cursive writing instruction holds critical significance.
She champions the value of cursive writing, emphasizing its cognitive benefits and role in honing fine motor skills. Quirk-Silva advocates for its preservation as an essential aspect of literacy, promoting neural development and enhancing students’ learning experiences. Despite digital dominance, she underscores the enduring relevance of this skill, advocating its preservation within California’s educational curriculum.