Discussion about handwriting over at kitchen table math (read the comment thread too).
In the Iowa Core Curriculum K-12 Literacy Essential Concepts and Skills document, the word handwriting appears twice. Two times in 130 pages.
From the Iowa Core, primary level (K-2):
Essential Concept and/or Skill: Write on demand.
• Consider audience and purpose
• Focus on a single topic
• Draw upon experiences and observations
• Use correct spelling of high-frequency and grade-level words
• Create readable documents with legible handwriting
Legible handwriting is not even mentioned for grades 3-12, let alone as a stand-alone essential skill at any grade level. Why does this matter? First, as ktm commenter palisadesk notes, if it isn’t in the curriculum, it won’t be taught. Second, being able to write quickly and legibly is an important skill. One that is necessary for taking notes, especially in math and science, but also needed for constructed response exams and ACT/SAT essays, as well as college blue book exams. Legible handwriting requires plenty of practice so that it can be done automatically and without tiring out the child’s hand.