Monday, March 30, 2015

Sorry, But Cursive Writing is Obsolete.

I've come across this meme of Facebook quite a few times recently. Along with a photo of an example of cursive writing, there is the statement,

"Massachusetts is one of several states that wants to keep penmanship lessons in the curriculum. Do you think we should keep cursive writing alive?"

As I type this, 175,424 folks have "liked" this meme on Facebook and it looks as if all 175,424 have left a comment. I've not read every comment, but it appears as if only one person besides myself thinks teaching cursive is pretty much a waste of time.

Some of the dumber comments supporting the continuation of cursive went along the lines of  "cursive is needed so they can read our founding documents" if the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution aren't available in print form - online, no less. You don't have to travel to Washington, D.C. to see the original document in order to read it.

Another mind numbingly stupid comment was,

"Absolutely! What will we do if the electricity is out, the phones are out and we need to send a message!"

If the phones and electricity are out, the message would have to be hand delivered. By the time you drove across town, the electricity would probably be back on. If the power wasn't on, you could talk to the person face to need to even write the %$#@& message.

The origin of cursive writing is associated with practical advantages of writing speed and infrequent pen lifting to accommodate the limitations of the quill pen. News flash: no one uses a quill pen now-a-days.

The method of cursive taught in the United States from the late 1890s to the 1950s was called the Palmer Method which had been developed to allow the writer to effectively compete with the typewriter. Unlike in the early twentieth century, businesses no longer communicate with hand written letters. Cursive may have had its place 100 years ago, but other than when writing a signature, cursive is rarely used at all any more.

Here's a link to someone who has explained why cursive is obsolete, much better than I. He writes,

"Cursive writing is an anachronism. Spending any classroom time on it is comparable to teaching how to use an abacus: it’s interesting as a history lesson, and probably offers some side benefits, but it is not at all practical as a day-to-day skill in the modern, connected world."


"Just because you learned something in school doesn’t mean your kids should: the world is changing, quickly. And while it’s hard to make predictions about where technology is headed, it’s safe to say the future won’t involve a lot of cursive handwriting (unless some kind of disaster sends us back to 14th-century technology, in which case handwriting will be the least of our problems)."

I've never operated a cotton gin - once considered a valuable skill. I've never saddled a horse or hitched one to a cart, but I've gotten along just fine. I suppose if the phone and electricity and Internet go out, I won't be able to ride a horse to deliver my handwritten message.

Heavens forbid.

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