I have been pondering this topic ever since I read the first news story back in November.
Question: Should cursive be taken out of schools?
ABC News reported that 41 states have embraced the Common Core State Standards for English, which omits teaching cursive in the schools. This statistic shocked me and believe you me, I don't shock that easy!
Where to begin....? I agree that technology today is far beyond running out of correction tape for your typewriter and that all the gidgets and gadgets available today make any kind of handwriting obsolete. The fast paced, "gotta have it now" attitude that we've developed only contributes to the narcissism that most school aged children already have, and rightly so. Don't most school aged kids think the world revolves around them? They know everything? Well, of course they do and they're supposed to because they amidst emotional and social development. In addition, kids are naturally impulsive. Teaching them skills to slow down their thinking process is crucial. I can't help but think that teaching them cursive is one of those ways ~ using actual pen and paper versus text messaging. The art of putting your thoughts down on paper is quickly diminishing and so is taking your time to gather your thoughts.
Without cursive, how are our children going to sign their name? I know this question reveals my naive side and I'm totally OK with that. I am no techie by any means, but an electronic signature would be easier to manipulate rather than practicing your mom's signed name over and over again to forge a note excusing your absence. (Come on, you know you've done something like that. I can probably still sign my mom's name and come pretty close to her actual signature) When I was in 4th grade, I had one of those teachers they write children's books about....scary children's books. Mrs. McNamara was intimidating. She called my mother in for a conference to tell her that I was getting a "C" in penmanship because my handwriting was sloppy. (This is when Penmanship was a graded subject on your report card) Talk about holding on to a memory. I can still see the three of us sitting in the desks next to the window and pencil sharpener! Even back then if you tell me I can't do something, sit back and watch me. My mom shared her handwriting exercises she learned in school and I practiced my little heart out to improve my penmanship. I am pleased to tell you that I have beautiful handwriting today, both printed and cursive.
Teaching our kids to live in this electronic age is mandatory. Most of the kids that I work with can do amazing things with their computers, iPads and the like. Heck, I've never even composed a power point! What makes us think that our children are so narrow minded that they can't learn both technology based writing and cursive? In an article I read, one teacher said that she's glad she “doesn't have to spend valuable resources on penmanship”. Valuable resources? As in money? Because I thought our children are our "valuable resource". I can't believe that 41 states have suggested that our kids are not capable of learning the art of cursive. As with anything, if it's important, you make time for it. Even if it's writing an assignment on the board in cursive. Yes, I know what you're thinking. They don't have blackboards in classrooms anymore, but they do have wipe off boards and it doesn't take any more time, effort or money to use cursive in the classroom.
I'm afraid we've reduced our kids to LOLing and chilaxing? These terms would never been written out by hand, forcing our brain to form an appropriate vocabulary which is important when our kids interact with others and eventually go on a job interview or start dating. Instead I hear made up terms everyday used as adjectives and verbs. Sure we had our own "language" growing up, but we knew the difference between asking someone on a date and asking them if they're 'dth' (down to hang). What? Exactly!