State policies on cursive writing
Current requirements in each state, and a recent history

Blog post Gale Gaines

SREB often answers requests from legislators to round up information on how other states are addressing specific education topics. Then we share what we find with all our member states. Here’s an example from when Oklahoma’s House education chair asked us last month for background on how states handle requirements for teaching cursive writing.

Today, 14 of 16 SREB states expect that students be taught or learn cursive writing. In most states, instruction generally begins in the second or third grade and concludes by the fifth grade. Four states continue specific references to cursive beyond the elementary grades, including Mississippi and South Carolina into eighth grade and Louisiana and Arkansas through 12th grade.

Legislative and state board of education requirements were enacted in several SREB states after 2010, a pivotal year for discussion about cursive writing across the nation when college- and career-readiness standards did not explicitly include it. (Leading up to 2010, 12 SREB states required cursive writing in schools. Shortly after 2010, only six SREB states did so.) 

We compiled this chart of requirements over time in response to the Oklahoma request and share it here for others’ use.  

Please let us know how we can help with information about how states approach education topics from pre-K through adult learning. We’re here to help.

Gale Gaines is SREB vice president for state services.