In a time of continued budget cuts, I would argue that schools should not drop:
1. Spelling – Students need to recognize when spelling is important (as the image above illustrates) and to have the confidence to question the spellchecker:
2. Cursive writing – I get that the Common Core State Standard’s technology-based approach calls for students to use
Internet-based tools to produce and publish writing, but why is that at the expense of cursive writing? The National Archives director of education, Lee Ann Potter, has captured my thinking on the value of teaching cursive writing in her recent Point/Counterpoint piece. Yes, cursive is about handwriting, but it’s also about reading. I treasure a stack of letters my grandmother saved from my grandfather, who died when my father was only five. These primary sources provide a window into events in two small California towns prior to World War I. They also are a direct connection to my heritage and to a grandfather I never met. I can read these time capsules without a translator, and so can my children, who both learned cursive writing in 3rd grade. But I can already see that the “writing is on the wall,” and that, most likely, the teaching of cursive will disappear from Title I schools (but remain part of private school curriculum – as one more dividing line).
3. Librarians – I stand back in awe of the talent, commitment, and impact of my district’s librarians. I’ve been joining their monthly after-school meetings, and each time have left inspired by the powerful ways they help teachers and students extend learning through technology integration (Glogster for a history assignment, Animoto for book trailers, QR codes to provide student-read intros to new books, etc.) My long-time hero Jamie McKenzie sums up my observations in his Why We Still Need Libraries and Librarians article.
Crossing my fingers that January does not bring worse news and realities into California schools!