Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thumbs Up? The Curse on Cursive...

Help! Am I the only one who feels the country is on the slippery slide to Hell? Case in point, read this, as reported by ABC News:

"Forty-one states have so far adopted the new Common Core State Standards for English, which does not require cursive. Set by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA), the standards provide a general framework for what students are expected to learn before college.

States are allowed the option of re-including cursive if they so choose, which is what Massachusetts and California have done.

But the latest to contemplate abandoning the script is Georgia, where teachers and administrators will meet in March to discuss erasing the longhand style from its lesson plans, says Georgia Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza.

The argument is that cursive is time-consuming and not as useful as the keyboard skills students will need as they move on to junior high and high school."

In the musical "Bye Bye Birdie" there is a song titled, "What's the Matter with Kids Today?". I guess it could be sung throughout the centuries for every generation. No cursive writing? Who will be able to sign their own name? Text. Texting. Sexting. All it takes is two thumbs and a lowered understanding of the English language. Spelling? Oooops, who needs that? Where U At? Dear God, what is happening in the world?

Do teachers not remember what cursive teaches us beyond just a writing style? Neatness, concentration, control over motor skills, and maybe even an appreciation for art, beauty, and vision? Since it opens the way to drawing, painting, and many other forms of hand-eye visual coordination, how can we cheat (cripple!) future generations by leaving out this important feature of their education? Maybe I am a little crazy about this, but I honestly remember drawing my first butterfly in the margins of my First Grade writing exercises.

I guess kids today will have to learn to draw with their thumbs on a tiny keyboard. Good luck. My only solace is that by the time this has an impact on our culture and society, I will be long dead.

Sleeping underground and dreaming of butterflies.

Seeya soon, Chris


  1. Oh Chris, you said it. I've tried using a computer to keep my journal, but I find it's just not as intimate and personal as picking up a pen and writing in cursive on paper. There's so much you can see about a person in their writing. Neat or sloppy, huge or tiny. I still have birthday cards signed by my grandfather before he died, and looking at his handwriting brings memories of him flooding back. If he'd printed his name on the card it wouldn't have so much impact.

  2. Amen. Cursive is important for all the reasons you cited; for my son, who is autistic, it has been especially important. When he prints, his writing is almost illegible; when he writes longhand, it's neat and beautiful. His therapists taught him cursive for fine motor control and concentration; it has made it easier for him to communicate. :)

  3. This is the death of the handwritten thank you note, too. Instead people are going to just send an email or (worse yet) text TY when really the beautiful act of gracefully acknowledging a kindness or gift is truly appropriate.

  4. Seriously, how long does it take to teach them cursive? It's not like you're trying to get kids to understand calculus or something. I admit I am the sort of person that prefers my own printing over my cursive letters, but I sometimes mix the two. I am glad I have both options though!

  5. Chris! As reading this I was thinking many reasons for why states would do this the best reason I could come up with (and I see you said something about it too) is TEXTING! I see children actually write out things such as ur for your or ever you're. B4 for before, and many others. It's sad. Children should be learning print AND cursive. Ten years from now kids won't even be writing, but emailing their teachers ALL their papers. It's sad. I LOVE TECHNOLOGY, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere.

  6. This reminded me of a time when I was in high school and a friend had used "w/" and "gov't" in an essay; I insisted she change it in the final copy but she refused stating "the teacher won't care." If I were a teacher in a University level course I would expect better than that, but I admit even being in University now I know of kids who cannot spell the most basic words. This could be because they spend such a large percentage of their time texting, but it's obvious they just don't give a damn to learn proper spelling. Maybe getting rid of cursive isn't all bad, I embrace the idea of belonging to an elite group of cursive writers, it would just make me that much more special X)

  7. I work in a Georgia school system. This is just another example of why we are next-to-last in the nation in education. I'm looking to make a career change as soon as I can.
    I weep for the future.

  8. If students are no longer taught to read and write in cursive, they will not be able to read the original constitution. It was written in cursive!

  9. Amen, Brother! I love holding a pen or pencil and making it move on paper....

  10. Were you a Woodchuck? Will C Wood was my favorite school