On my morning commute, I always listen to the local NPR station. While I don’t necessarily agree with all of the political leanings implied in the stories, I find it a great way to hear about things that are going on in the world, stay updated on traffic, and generally be entertained on what can be a mundane and frustrating drive into D.C. There have been several times that I have listened to a story on NPR that has caused me to further some “research,” or Google-searching, on a topic. This morning was no exception and I am slightly horrified with what I have found.
There was a short story done on the fact that many public schools are no longer teaching the art of cursive handwriting because it is not one of the Common Core State Standards. I was floored. I have vivid memories of learning cursive from pictures and workbook pages similar to the photo above. I find the differences in individual’s handwriting very interesting, especially signatures. The thought that kids today aren’t being taught this skill was not comprehensible to me.
This article in the New York Times is even more disturbing. The author compares cursive handwriting with the abacus and a slide rule, stating that there are much more “important” things that children should be learning than cursive. He goes on to say that there is no research that concludes that knowing how to write in cursive is a skill that will positively impact learning in other areas.
Normally, comments on internet articles are full of completely idiotic responses. I was impressed by the comments, however, on this article. My snarky, sarcastic side sort of fell in love with this comment:
I obviously don’t have children yet and am not a teacher having to teach in this day and age. But the more I see in the news about the state of our children’s education and how they are taught, I can understand those parents that choose to homeschool their children. Being in, somewhat, control over what your children learn and ensuring they are truly learning a topic, not merely memorizing for a test, is huge! And to think that there could be an entire generation that doesn’t know how to sign their own signatures because they aren’t taught cursive is disheartening. While I don’t write in cursive the way I was taught, my hybrid cursive handwriting would not have emerged had I not been taught cursive handwriting from the beginning.
While I have a tendency to shy away from change because it is outside of what I know, I believe that in the case of cursive, I am not wrong. I have no way to make changes, but I do know that if my future, hypothetical children aren’t taught how to write in cursive in school, I will be teaching them at home. Some skills need to be continued, no matter how “archaic and useless” they may seem to school administrators.