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Maryland High Schoolers Can’t Read, Graduate Anyway

Failed Students
"Hey, Hector, this is your scan-tron bubble sheet, stop writing your essay on it..."

The school board of Fallston Maryland is moving ahead with it’s plan to graduate “illiterate students,” despite protests from parents and education watchdogs.

“I am appalled that a graduate of high school in this county couldn’t read a note I wrote,” said parent, Jim Hudson, recalling how he had given a note written in cursive writing to a woman to read. The woman, who was a graduate from Fallston High School struggled mightily to read the message written – which was written in cursive font.

Hudson argued that the school is graduating students “illiterate on purpose.”

Hudson noted that students that are unable to read cursive font will not be able to succeed in the professional word and will not be able to compete against those that can read cursive.

“I was dismayed. They are illiterate on purpose,” he said to the board and that, “Why are you doing it to these children?”

Hunter Donahoe, a student stated that he recognizes the importance of using cursive, pointed out that having this skill, “is really important. In AP U.S. history we are required to read documents that are in cursive and some students can’t do that.”

“It makes it a lot easier than having to transfer stuff over. My teacher writes in cursive and you have to sign your name in cursive. I think that it makes your handwriting neater,” he added.

The chief of administration for the Harford schools, Joseph Licata responded by stating that the they do not have a “formal component” in their curriculum and that the it is “through the use of primary resources and exposure to other publications, students are exposed to cursive writing.”

Licata mentioned that cursive writing was a part of their curriculum “many years ago” and was implemented on elementary level. While, it remains unclear when cursive was removed from the schools curriculum, Licata stated “we have no response to Mr. Hudson’s comments other than we are sorry he feels that way based on his experience with one graduate of our school system, but we thank him for his input.”

Kim Parsons, school counselor at Herbert Hoover High School in Clendenin, West Virginia sided with Hudson and expressed that “When you see a 17 or 18-year-old student struggle to sign their name, it can be painful.”

Cara Phillips, assistant principal at Webster County High School in Upperglade, West Virginia stated “It’s just something that has become extinct.” She further emphasized that cursive writing “is a skill that everyone needs to do especially today. We just can’t be without it. To be successful, to move ahead in every job, I think that you have to have that.”


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