Is it time to write off cursive handwriting?

Student in Dayton, Ohio practices cursive handwriting

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - In years gone by, penmanship helped distinguish the literate from the illiterate. But in the digital age, people are increasingly communicating by computer and smartphone, with no handwritten signature necessary.

When the new Common Core educational standards were crafted, cursive classes were dropped. State leaders cited a host of reasons, including an increasing need for children to master computer keyboarding.

But at least seven of the 45 states that adopted the standards are fighting to restore handwriting classes.

South Carolina is among the 45 states that adopted the standard.

Horry County schools are teaching the Common Core standard through "Imagine It", which is the curriculum for kindergarten through fifth grade.

It suggests that teachers take the time to teach cursive writing but Nevada Herndon, a third grade teacher at Conway Elementary School says finding the time is difficult.

"It's one day a week and like I said, with a 40 minute block of writing needed only 20 minutes is allowed, so we build it in when we can," said Herndon.

Herndon added that she would rather teach her students things they will use frequently in their future that seems to be continuing into a digital era.

Kyle Randle, a parent of a first grader at Conway Elementary School says he's concerned students won't know how to read some essential documents that are written in cursive.

"I think it's important for the public school system to teach children how to do basic things of signing their name and be able to read things such as the constitution and other documents," said Randle.

Herndon believes knowing how to work tools and websites, including surfing the web will help students in the long run.

Cursive advocates cite recent brain science that indicates the fluid motion employed when writing script enhances hand-eye coordination and develops fine motor skills, in turn promoting reading, writing and cognitive skills.