I hope I’m not being a stubborn old lady when I say I’m concerned about the apparent trend away from teaching cursive handwriting in schools. Doesn’t that fall under the second “R” — “Reading, wRiting and ‘Rithmatic”?
I’ve seen stories reporting that 41 states no longer require learning cursive in grade school, Georgia plans to drop cursive instruction from curricula next fall, and 85% of today’s college students print when writing by hand.
The argument is that it’s a waste of time to teach a skill not tested by No Child Left Behind. Or that kids no longer use cursive; they prefer computers or texting. Really? The tests and the kids determine what will be taught? That’s it? Nothing more?
The first thing I always think about is the kids too poor to have smart phones and computers and Internet access. These things are expensive. Surely not every American child has them at home. Surely No Child Left Behind doesn’t intend to leave behind those without computers.
In my old-fashioned way, I still think kids should be taught to write thank you notes and letters (snail mail, with stamps and everything), although I suppose they could print those. And what about reading cursive? There’s still a lot of it around. I think children should learn to read it, if only so they can read historical documents (like the Declaration of Independence or Grandma’s old love letters). And I cringe to think of a supposedly “educated” person printing his signature to endorse a check or sign a legal document.
So, yes, I think it’s a terrible idea. I think any school that doesn’t teach cursive handwriting is cheating the child, just as if they didn’t teach music or art. I’ll bet those things aren’t on the standardized tests either.