In response to your question about cursive writing, in my opinion it is a very important part of our educational program.
Not only as a very lovely form of writing used in many important messages, such as invitations and announcements, but mainly because the most important papers in our nation’s history that are a record of our reasons for founding this nation and the basic beliefs of our founding fathers as they established guideline for future leaders, are all written in cursive. All of the basics of our freedoms and future hopes for this nation are found only in their handwritten papers.
If a person cannot write in cursive, he cannot read it. If our future citizens cannot read their country’s original documents, they will not be able to understand what this country stands for and how it should work. They will have only what the political leaders in power at the time tell them to believe.
It is my belief that this is the very reason for the effort to drop cursive writing from all our schools.
We must continue to educate our youth in the basics of what America was intended to be, and how hard it is to keep her that way. We are drifting too far away from where we started. We need more history of our nation taught in our schools so that they will understand what this nation can be. “What people don’t know” is what will hurt us all.
Of the past
Should cursive writing still be taught in school? My initial reaction is yes, cursive writing should continue to be taught within our school systems. Upon giving this some thought, however, I have changed my mind. Like other things in life, this appears to be an item of the past and no longer required.
I came to this conclusion solely because as a result of my 17-year-old granddaughter (a senior in high school) and the fact that she rarely writes anything down — everything seems to go into her smartphone, computer or some other electronic device. She is writing it into something using a keyboard as opposed to actually writing it down.
Electronic signatures seem to be the thing of today. My granddaughter prints her homework out. She would never utilize cursive writing.
DONALD B. BURNS
Learning cursive writing is learning a skill, and I am convinced that any learned skill is helpful. Cursive remains useful for signature purposes (i.e. executing a contract, deed or will, writing a check, or even signing a traffic citation). I realize many formerly handwritten words are now texted or typed, but what if the power grid goes down or the computer crashes? What then?
I can find no justification for rendering a future generation even more illiterate and dependent on electronics, not to mention losing the ability to read historic documents as they were written. John Hancock’s signature simply would not have the same impact in printed form.
I believe there is a time for teaching cursive writing and a time for teaching keyboarding and neither needs to be exclusive of the other. Let’s not rush to seize the new and off the old as has been attempted in the instance of New Math or in discontinuing the teaching of phonics.
Having taught English at East Tennessee State University for 30 years and graded the AP, GMAT and Praxis exams for the Educational Testing Service for 23 years, I have become an expert on hard-to-read and unreadable handwriting. One might think that printing would be an improvement on cursive handwriting, but it is not.
Cursive is quicker to write, so people who print generally try to speed up by turning their printing into their own private form of cursive, which is unknown to the reader.
Over the years I have noticed that the clearest cursive handwriting seems to belong to people from Britain or former members of the commonwealth, such as Jamaica or Australia. This writing is not very individualistic but is serviceable and clear. I know Americans are glad to have gained their independence from Britain, but I suggest we follow its lead in teaching a simple, agreed-upon cursive.
The thought that printing will lead to clarity is a tragic illusion. Trust me — I know.