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Opening Arguments

Cursive, foiled again!

Third-graders in the Brownsburg school district will be on the fast track to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

A letter was distributed to parents this week indicating that more of the instructional time previously dedicated to cursive writing at the third-grade level would be used to teach computer keyboarding skills beginning this year.

“It is clear to us that cursive is becoming more obsolete,” said Donna Petraits, the district's director of communications. “We are hearing equal amounts of praise and criticism on this decision, which we fully expected.”

This seems to be part of a nationwide trend. Time magazine had an article earlier this month on "Mourning the Death of Handwriting." I probably shouldn't be remarking on this since my own cursive is pretty close to an illegible scrawl, even to me after a day or two. But I think spending all that time learning it was valuable in ways that block printing wasn't. We had to learn how letters actually connected to form words, see where one letter ended and where another began. And I don't doubt that even printing will begun to be de-emphasized in favor of keyboarding. How many things do we actually write these days anyway? But I wonder about coming generations who will learn what letters look like but not how to make them. Will that be just one more adaption we make, or will something important be missing?


Fri, 08/28/2009 - 12:17pm

I am hugely biased on this subject. My handwriting has always been atrocious. As soon as teachers no longer cared, I abandoned cursive for printing. And I love my computer keyboard. So, my sentiments are "good riddance" to cursive. Your point about how words fit together is something I hadn't thought about and may be something we're giving up. I think how the letters themselves connect is an artificial construction of the cursive writing process itself.

Fri, 08/28/2009 - 5:59pm

I love beautiful handwriting and it's getting to be very much a lost art, it used to surprise me how many older folks, even older men, had beautiful handwriting. I like to see a well-written word, as it were.

Oh, I fear spelling isn't emphasized enough anymore and you see it everywhere.

Bob G.
Sat, 08/29/2009 - 9:00am

I ALWAYS admired the cursive style exhibited by PAROCHIAL students...and they have the swollen knuckles (from the sisters) to PROVE it.

I used to say I SHOULD have been a DOCTOR...my handwriting can get THAT bad at times.
It borders on "writing in tongues"...

Of course, with age comes arthritis...and the result on *my* cursive style is, shall we say..."unique".
But it's not as bad as an Etch-A Sketch...LOL!!