The Tennessee State Board of Education recently gave preliminary approval to new standards for cursive writing instruction. The standards call for mastery of cursive letters by the end of third grade and legible cursive writing by the end of fourth grade.
The Freeborn County Historical Society in Minnesota is working with educators to provide local students with hands-on lessons to enhance their learning. In one project, Albert Lea High School students create their own lessons and then don period costumes to make presentations to the district's fifth-grade students. Museums increasingly are linking exhibits to local curriculum, such as state requirements that students learn about Minnesota's Civil War past has been connected to an exhibit at the Minnesota History Center.
A plan in Tennessee to do away with separate geography courses to create hybrid classes that blend geography with U.S. and world history will mean students could graduate from high school without having learned some important lessons, writes Kurt Butefish, coordinator of the Tennessee Geographic Alliance. "If we truly want our students to be college and career ready, we should be stressing spatial thinking, critical thinking, problem-solving and the use of technology. Geography is the ultimate vehicle through which these skills can be taught," he writes in this opinion article.
The implementation of Common Core State Standards and the push for more electronic communication has led some schools to abandon lessons in cursive handwriting. In Missouri, each district decides whether to mandate cursive instruction. In St. Louis schools, early grades teach cursive, but the expectation in later grades is that students write legibly. Some teachers, however, are integrating handwriting lessons into other subjects.
Atlanta public schools are under the steady direction of new Superintendent Erroll Davis Jr. The former utility executive and chancellor of the state's higher-education system was a choice who officials thought could heal the district after a cheating scandal.