No more cursive education? Good or bad?

I heard it earlier, but hadn’t paid much attention to it ’til yesterday for some reason; that the State of Indiana is no longer requiring cursive education as part of 3rd grade (or any) curriculum. According to ABC News, there are over 40 states no longer requiring cursive classes. It really started losing importance when it was not tested as part of the No Child Left Behind program – so blame George Bush, right? Not tested = don’t teach? The claim is that it is not being taught since so much of current education is to teach toward the tests. And you know what? With all the increasing pressure on teachers to raise test scores, they do have to prioritize how to spend the time and cursive seems to have been moved lower on the list.

It didn’t really register with me ’til I had to “write” something and realized how much I hadn’t been utilizing that skill.  Other than school passes, short note reminders, scribbled rehearsal notes and an ocassional check, I really haven’t used that capability for longer than I had thought. I started going through some of my own pros and cons ….. and did a quick couple of sites search to get a mild grasp of what was happening.

Cursive education is good, including what I have used it for.

Taking notes in class. I remember scribbling notes in college classes. Then going back to re-read, highlight, etc.

BUT… Have you been to a college class lately? Everybody is typing onto their electronic device. Newer lecture hall-style classrooms have power outlets built into the tables. I can keyboard (gotta stop saying ‘typing’) faster than I can cursive. And if I didn’t know how to do cursive and HAD to take some notes, and want to be able to read what I write, I’d print.

Cursive notes/letters are more personal. When ‘typing’ required a piece of paper in a typewriter with which you could use correction tape to fix a small misspelling, major revisions required wadding the paper, aiming for the wastebasket and starting over — so ‘typing’ was not necessarily faster. And for a while, it was almost considered impolite to send a personal note that you had typed or printed. That has changed.

How are you at reading handwritten notes? And what do people say about your handwriting?  Ever heard, “You write like a doctor.”? And, increasingly, it seems people are ‘printing’ vs cursive writing notes. Several of the ‘Thank You’ notes I receive from graduates (another lost art?) are printed vs written.

I have a computer font that is my handwriting. I originally had to send in samples of my handwriting, and Signature Fonts returned to me a computer font with software that links all the letters together. So I can (and did for a while when I first received it) keyboard handwritten notes. It seemed kinda fake. It is still on that 3.5″ disk, so it has been a few years.

My school encourages teachers to send home “Super Student” postcards (provided). They are really cool, and when I go to seniors’ graduation open houses, cards received throughout high school are on display. I personalize every one I write, but there are some phrases that I do tend to use often…. and since I try to do more than the mandated minimum, I have started running those cards through a printer. Easier to read. I have heard no complaints.

Keyboarding, texting, messaging, emailing is now universally acceptable communication.

Reading cursive is still a necessary skill, especially if you still have relatives (or teachers) who will ‘write’ you a note or letter. And many historical documents, including everything from our founding fathers (i.e. Constitution, Declaration of Independence), notes and stories leading up to those documents, etc., are forms of cursive. How realistic/practical would it be to teach ‘reading’ minus ‘writing’ cursive?

The neuroscience of writing and motor skills are outside my realm of expertise, but it is mentioned in the ABC article as a reason FOR cursive education.

The main arguments against cursive education include….

Too much other curriculum to teach. How much more history and science are today’s students expected to grasp?

BUT…, instead of replacing cursive, we could rethink the time we spend on teaching (buzz words approaching) political correctness, tolerance of everything (except Christianity), environmental extremism, and of dealing with things like mainstreaming and all-inclusive, non-‘tracked’ classes….

Teaching technology time replacing teaching cursive time. It is much more vital to learn how to use technology in today’s world, for researching and reporting that must be done so much faster than historically.

Cursive education can go the way of Latin education. On the other hand, the classical education movement is bringing Latin back.

Not intending to make a fully thought out research analysis here…. just an evening’s thoughts. Next, perhaps, “iPads replacing textbooks”?


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