Will Searches for Cursive Documents Top Lady Gaga?

Should cursive writing still be required teaching in schools?

I was reading about that debate the other day.

I have not written in cursive since junior high, my signature is a combination of cursive and unique printed text (resembles an illegible doctor's signature), and I cannot remember the last time that I read something that was written in cursive.

As such, I am just peachy with cursive being taught at home or as an elective--I see it as one less topic that teachers are required to cover.

Representative Shelia Butt (R) is sponsoring a bill in Tennessee to mandate cursive be taught in schools.

I did laugh after reading this article where Ms. Butt explains her position:

...Butt said her motivation to craft the bill came after parents complained to her that their children were unable to read handwritten assignments…

"I found out that in my county there were high school juniors and seniors who could not read a cursive writing assignment a teacher had written on the board," she told FoxNews.com. "And there were juniors and seniors who did not have a cursive signature to write on a legal document."

Tennessee is one of at least six states with lawmakers urging that cursive by mandatory. Five other states -- North Carolina, California, Georgia, Massachusetts and Virginia -- already have laws in place to make sure students learn to read and write in script...

Wow, all this trouble for that?

Why not just have teachers print the assignment on the board and then give students a one-time 30 minute class that teaches how to create a signature?

The representative also added that students who cannot read cursive writing are unable to read the original images of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights online.

Yes, I am sure accessing the originals of those historical documents by individuals fluent in cursive ranks up there at the top of Google searches with "hilarious cat video" and "Lady Gaga."
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What do you think?

Should cursive writing be a mandatory subject for 2nd/3rd graders?

25 comments:

Midlife Roadtripper said...

With the advent of the computer and texting, I'm not certain if whether one prints or writes in cursive matters. However, cursive does give one certain personality as we all draw differently -- even though they taught us to do it all the same. Ha! Now there is a topic.

Did I answer the question? Guess I'm thinking today there are more important issues in education than cursive. Lost art. Sort of like Shorthand. I was really good at that. That skill utilized during summer and after school jobs provided funds for my college education.

Miranda Hardy said...

I write in cursive, rarely print. It's interesting that I may be using a soon to be extinct form. But, change is inevitable. Technology has grown to where we may not be writing by hand much longer anyway.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

It would probably be more useful to teach them typing. But I am old school - and still hand write letters from time to time. My sons do the same. But they are young, so they print them.

A Cuban In London said...

We have had a similar situation here in the UK. I read a very good article in Intelligent Life a couple of years on the dying art of cursive hand-writing. It's not just the hand-writing but the act of writing by hand that will be lost if we don't keep cursive writing. A shame, really, as cursive writing beneficial side effects.

Good post.

Greetings from London.

Alice said...

I don't think that writing by hand will be a big issue in the future, but I do see the point about not being able to read original documents being a problem. However, I think most people could "decipher" cursive if they had to. I agree that it would make a good elective choice.

I took shorthand in high school the very last year they offered it. I never used it at all, but the class was fun:)

Theresa Milstein said...

Truth is all these mandatory tests mean that there's no time for cursive. And really, if we were putting into budgets what we should, all kids would be working on laptops or iPads by now. The only thing we need cursive for is a signature.

I work with kids who have special needs. Several of them have accommodations to use tablets. More need them but don't get them because of $. Others don't want them because they don't want to stand out. If everyone had them, they wouldn't feel so different.

And I have to say that it's archaic that these kids still use written drafts and then type. As a writer, I find that process laborious.

I wonder what these beneficial side effects of handwriting are supposed to be. I type much faster than I write!

Momma Fargo said...

It's so weird we are having this discussion. Only----because I am old and whodathunk we would not write anymore. LOL. I am not sure they use it anymore and we have to evolve and change with the times, I guess.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I got my college degree in genealogy. One of the things we had to study was paleography. Oh, not a deep research, obviously, but we had to learn how to tell the idiosyncrasies of the writing through different centuries. It's fairly easy for me to read old documents, first because I already know cursive, but second because I've added additional information for time periods. Take away the cursive study and our kids won't be able to read the Declaration of Independence anymore. I think that's kind of sad.

messymimi said...

Learning cursive has been shown to make connections in the brain that are important -- i read an article about it last year, so i can't speak to it well enough from the little i remember. Some scientists were arguing that it is important, though.

It would be nice if they knew how, but i'm not sure they have time to teach it any more.

Pat Hatt said...

I haven't used it in almost 10 years, besides some rendition of it in my signature which is never the same twice lol do away with it, if no one uses it, what's the point? It's like teaching kids how to use a vcr, pointless.

Stephanie Faris said...

I'll take it a step further--should handwriting at all be taught in school. If everything is going to the computer as people say, what point is there in printing?

I think if I had children, I'd teach them cursive whether the school did or not. There is that option. But it is kind of sad that it's going away. In just a few years, classrooms will be full of sixth-graders using tablets to type notes!

Hilary said...

I want to say "yes, it's important to know" but I realize that I'm just hanging on to what I learned, know and use. I do realized that we're an evolving society communication-wise. I have accepted that it won't be long, if it isn't already so that most kids won't know how to read a clock face, hold a real book or know what it's like to miss a television show and not have the opportunity to watch it the next day instead. We're changing, and some of the aspects of daily life that many of us have held dear, are going by the wayside whether we like it or not. I don't think we can control that.. not for long, anyway. It will find its niche and if that niche says cursive is dead.. so shall it be.

Maxi said...

2nd and 3rd graders? As a senior, who grew up in the world of cursive, I say no.

Do away with cursive. Has anyone noticed it is rarely used?

Even when it says "sign here," one can print.

blessings ~ maxi

Secret Agent Woman said...

First, let's cut right to the most important part of this story - can you imagine going through life with the last name Butt? I'd be at the courthouse changing that in a heartbeat.

Two different patients have mentioned the cursive issue to me. As skills go, it doesn't seem like a very important one.

Nan jay Barchowsky said...

Curious! What I read here and elsewhere is the recognition that the cursive alphabets now being taught are doomed to the trash bin. So be it.

Neglected is the research proving that learning to form alphanumeric shapes creates better cognition than typing on a keyboard. It doesn’t matter what alphabetic model is used. Do we want to deny children of a benefit to their brain development? So far no research has shown that technology provides the same.

It is the responsibility of those who dictate curricula to examine all available research, and not to rely on baseless opinions.

Brian Miller said...

i dont use cursive...i use kind of an amalgamation of print and cursive....i know there is logic behind it...as far as development goes but ...

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I don't know to write cursive. I learned to write in England. With a fountain pen. It's impossible to write cursive with a fountain pen. It rips the paper. Why they taught us to write like that is beyond me. So my writing is more like a cross between the two. Hey, as long as people can read it, that's all I care. :)

My daughter didn't even learn to print properly. It was the same problem for most kids in her class. :(

Pia said...

Cursive writing is still being taught in our schools here. Actually it's a must in kindergarten to early grade school.

Leslie Fish said...

Where did we get the idea that "cursive" (actually, Palmer-Method Cursive) is the only kind of script writing? It couldn't have been the Palmer company itself, which negotiated a sweetheart deal with the public school system from the beginning, could it? In fact, "Cursive" is only one of several forms, and far from the best of them. Other forms -- like Italic and Copperplate -- are much more legible, easier to learn, quicker to teach, and keep their legibility long after the student leaves school.

"Cursive", on the other hand, has a nasty tendency to degenerate into that illegible scribble for which doctors are so notorious, which has caused thousands of deaths from "medical error", as any nurse or pharmacist can tell you. Yes, we should teach penmanship in school, but choose a better form than this! If only for all the lives it has cost us, Cursive deserves to die.

lisa said...

Well, didn't you open up a can of worms! Even though I embrace much technology, I think it would be a shame for kids not to be able to read/write in cursive I do see the point in being able to read historical documents. But history is a dying art as well. Why should kids learn all that stuff that happened in the past anyway? The future is where they're headed. Bring on more technology! Some day we'll won't' need to hand write anything (she says with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek)!

terri said...

I'm not sure how I feel about this. It seems sad to let cursive become a thing of the past, but then again, if there's really not much use for it now or in the future, why waste time teaching it?

I rarely use a pen and paper anymore, unless I'm writing a grocery list. But I wrote out some invitations for my parents last night and realized I can still write pretty neatly, although, my writing has morphed into a combination of printing and cursive too.

Out on the prairie said...

I was in a combined grade classroom and saw the writing as an art, which I practiced along with the older students. I print all.

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

Congrats on your POTW. I am torn on this subject. I hate to see anything lost. Then on the other hand, if it no longer serves an important purpose (a lot of people's cursive writing is illegible anyways) then maybe the time should be used to teach something more relevant, like coding.

joeh said...

Maybe they should teach Latin in cursive.

I think we can live without this being taught, lots of more important stuff. I'm still getting used to calling longhand or script cursive and now it is going away.

joeh said...

And congrats on your POTW