Is Cursive About To Be Outlawed?



cursive1Photo: Courtesy of Amazon.
Ah, the times really are changing. Books are digital, third graders can work a computer better than most of us, and now cursive is on its way out? Not if North Carolina's Pat Hurley gets her way. Hurley, the state's representative, went on the Today show this morning to defend her recently passed "Back to Basics" bill, which reintroduces cursive-writing instruction in the classroom. Though the bill passed uncontested this spring, parents and educators are making their issues with it clear now that school is back in session. Some have even resorted to phoning Hurley to express how quaint they find her ideas (we wonder if anyone noticed the irony here). One concerned father told her handwriting is a "total waste of time," while an instructor said it's something "these children will never use in their lifetime."

Hurley remains resolute in the face of criticism.

She decided to pursue the "Back to Basics" bill after she received a batch of field-trip thank-you notes that were lacking flourish in the penmanship department. "It was like these kids weren’t educated," Hurley said, before comparing their writing to hieroglyphics.

The revived debate is making the media rounds, too. The Philly Post's Joel Mathis writes, "We have machines to do this stuff for us. Who writes letters anymore?" True, the days of letter writing are far behind us, but what would happen if said machines were to, you know, malfunction?

Regardless, we're living in a new reality. In fact, 2010's Common Core Standards — which set educational protocol in 45 states — only asks for students to "demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills." For anyone old enough to be reading this site, you probably agree with Hurley that this is "strange." Not long ago at all, learning cursive was a mandatory, if not overly practical, elementary-school milestone for American kids. If only for the sake of developing a proper signature, taking part in a communicative tradition, and making nice greeting cards, writing script was just something you endured and then didn't think much about again, like geometry and the Dewey decimal system for most students.

Luckily, not everyone is so ready to dismiss cursive entirely. A whopping 83% of people polled on Today's site currently side with Hurley's pro-script stance, as do 89% of actual children ages 8 to 18 polled by USA Gold Pencils in July. As Rhode Island parent Tracey Neylon told Today, "It’s important to be able to write to be a functioning member of society." We could not agree more. Spell-check and keyboards are great, but nothing teaches you a language more than writing it. (Daily Mail)