The local newspaper, the Daytona Beach News Journal recently published an article about cursive writing in public schools and how it is being phased out. It is not required by the newly adopted Common Core State Standards. It is a skill that fewer and fewer school-aged children have acquired in part because the need for it is not very great. Computers and smart phones has seen to that.
Anyway, having read the article, I thought I’d put my two cents in and wrote the newspaper. They were kind enough to publish my letter. Here is what I wrote:
Letter to the Editor:
Once again, I am conflicted by the news. This time it is the report that cursive writing is going the way of cuneiform writing. Cursive writing was doomed with the advent of personal computers. I’m not sure anyone was wise enough to recognize that the curtain was closing and the cursive show was ending. Cursive writing is a skill I was taught in the first grade — more years ago than I prefer to count. I vaguely remember the lined sheets used to practice on, and the proper form of the letters displayed above the blackboard. But those are memories, and memories are the past.
Education curriculum must change with the times. No doubt those in the future will do just fine without cursive writing. Who knows? In 50 years people may only need to touch a piece of paper (if that’s still around) and — Shazam! An acceptable substitute for their written signature will be applied.
Yet my heart wants to scream out at educators, telling them that cursive writing must be taught. Why? Well, I don’t know — maybe just because I had to learn it in the good ol’ days. However, I don’t yell, because my mind knows cursive writing is antiquated and is not as necessary as science, technology, engineering and math courses are. Besides, the only cursive writing I do now is when I sign my name. The truth is that I use a kind of run-on printing when I must use pen or paper. I use cursive writing as much as I use algebra that I was taught in school — just about never. Given all that, I guess I won’t be the first one to toss that proverbial stone.
So get on with it, educators. Don’t let us old-timers be a roadblock to the future.