Educators should encourage students to learn cursive.

As youngsters devote so much time to texting one another on their cell phones, it's easy to wonder if they'll ever be able to correspond by writing a letter on paper, or writing longhand in any way.

And many young people today probably wonder why they'd even need to do as much, considering digital technology.

Local educators, however, still believe good penmanship shouldn't be erased from the old standards of reading, writing and arithmetic.

As new technology has replaced some handwriting in daily work, schools nationwide have done away with teaching cursive writing. That's not the case in Garden City USD 457, where elementary school teachers who see cursive writing as an important skill still teach it to third-graders.

For good reason. Studies have found that many elementary-school teachers believe students with fluent handwriting produce written assignments that are easier to read, and superior in quality. Educators also have cause to believe students are more thoughtful when writing something longhand, versus hastily pecking away on a keyboard.

The art of writing in cursive also promises to come in handy for students when they need to take notes. While students in USD 457 have access to iPads in high school, they may not always be able to use such devices for note-taking. It helps to take notes in cursive because it's speedier and more efficient than printing.

Teachers also note that the ability to write in cursive will help students read various kinds of writing they may encounter. Historical documents, for example, would be more difficult to decipher without some familiarity with cursive writing.

Among other more practical reasons for students to learn cursive would be that as they move into adulthood, they'll encounter a number of legal documents that require a signature.

While we don't expect to see such a style of writing on paper ever completely replace the steady stream of text messaging and other forms of electronic communication, penmanship should remain part of the curriculum.

Kudos to those educators who know that regardless of technological advances that make some things easier, the art of handwriting should never go out of style.