No! Campaign Against Cursive
Yesterday (August 29) during the Hot Morning Show Andy and Tasha were talking about if cursive writing was still important enough to be taught in school. Tasha said it is and wrote about it here: Campaign for Cursive.
I am here to say no. No, it is not necessary to teach cursive writing in school. Especially as a requirement.
Class time is a finite resource, devoting time to an essentially useless practice is a waste of that time. Yes it can be pretty, or neat, but it's not practical. Just like it's not practical to spend time teaching everyone to ride a house. In our day-to-day lives today it's not a useful job skill.
When the world moves on from something, so must we. I can't shoe a horse or do whatever a blacksmith does (I know it's something with fire and metal, I get the History Channel) because there is no need for me to know that. As a curiosity, or hobby, sure; but as part of the basic foundation of education, no.
Cursive teaching should be replaced (and is in some schools) with keyboarding. In 2017 and beyond people will be typing far more than they will ever be writing. I was unfortunate enough to come through school when you could graduate and not know how to type. I'm a self-taught typer, and if it wasn't for spellcheck and auto-correct I'd be lost. I had eight years of elementary and Jr. high school cursive training and one semester of typing in high school, taught by a part-time wrestling coach as an afterthought. You know what I needed in collage? To know how to type.
"But what if the world collapes, you'll be glad you know cursive and blacksmithing and horse stuff!" Maybe, but if we live through a EOTWAWKI sinerio, well have bigger problems than taking notes.
I'm not talking about eradicating the skill from the human-mind. But, we can't have a hording mentality about cool things. Pretty soon that 'save it just in case' mindset leads to attics full of butter containers and stacks of newspapers. A short penmanship class could be useful, and if you think that cursive is that important there's nothing stopping you from teaching it to your kids yourself.
Another objection to the de-emphasizing of cursive is that people won't be able to read old things written in cursive. Well, can you read thing written in old versions of the English language without footnotes? Aside from Lit majors, have you ever read Shakespeare without footnotes and/or a modern translation? Do we need to spend time teaching Middle English so students can read Hamlet? I've read the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence many times in modern type-set formats, just like everyone else since at lease 1800.
Some even say that the act of writing cursive has learning benefits they we may lose if we move away from it. That's nostalgic-influenced fear of the future. There was time when people thought reading books fiction would ruin your mind and emotions and comic books would rot your children. We look back and roll our eyes at the naivety of those people, and our great-grand children will do the same to us over things like this.
But what about signing you name? Oh you mean that thing that can easily be copied and is vastly inferior to many other way of proving identity? Realistically, the days of signing you name to documents is drawing to a close. Thumbprint, DNA, face-recognition and other biometrics will become more of the norm. Already today, you can get paid and pay all your bills without even touching paper, let alone signing anything.
Computers and the connected life are not a fad. Computers and our interactions with them will continue to grow, faster and faster each year. There is no going back. We either can prepare our children to live in the world as it is, or selfishly use them as wish-fulfillment vessels for our lost youths.
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