Is cursive a dead horse? Well, maybe it will become obsolete just like Roman numerals but I for one am not ready to consign it to the compost heap. I can see value in the cursive script beyond just the ability to put in on a page. For one thing, many of the letters lend themselves to easy connections when one is quickly scribbling notes. My mostly cursive font is the quickest way to put something on paper with a pencil. Then there is all the brain activity that goes on with cursive writing–various learning development programs incorporate a type of cursive fluidity in their therapy.
There are many different opinions about when in the optimum time to teach cursive. I think I learned it in the later months of first grade but that’s been a long time ago. We teach it in second grade with the CLE Language Arts and yes, it can be hurdle for some students to cross. At the same time, they are usually enthused about learning cursive. Many of them have been experimenting with it for a long time. (Which is a problem in itself, because often they are drawing the letters without being shown proper formation and then have bad habits to correct.) Second graders are not usually required to write much besides penmanship in cursive.
I am not an advocate for teaching cursive along with learning to read as some programs do but that’s just my opinion. But waiting too long to introduce cursive may mean that students don’t get enough practice for it to become practical.