“A man’s penmanship is an unfailing index of his character, moral and mental, and a criterion by which to judge his peculiarities of taste and sentiments.” – Philip Dormer Stanhope
Last week I wrote a post expressing my regret that future generations would no longer have the joy of finding yellowing letters hidden in a dusty attic or forgotten in the back of a drawer. Letters that expressed love and revealed the dreams and thoughts of a past generation. At the time I wrote the blog, I believed hand written letters and notes faced extinction due to email and texting. Now I am shocked to discover there is another reason for their demise.
I read that some schools are no longer teaching cursive at all. Those schools that still teach it, dedicate 10 minutes a day or less compared to two or more hours a week in the 1940s and 50s. There are kids that cannot write their own name in cursive, much less read anything written in letters that flow. To me this is a form of illiteracy and I didn’t want to believe it.
I asked my son-in-law, a ninth grade counselor, about this and he said it’s true. He sees kids panic all the time when faced with having to write out anything in longhand, including their name.
Evidently this is not new. I ran across articles dating back to 2003 discussing whether or not cursive was an important skill to learn in this age of technology. I guess my head has been buried in the sand on this subject.
The following is from an article in Idahostatesman.com: According to the College Board, when the SAT added a handwritten essay to its 2006 exam, just 15 percent of the almost 1.5 million students wrote their answers in cursive. But those who did earned slightly higher scores.
And, according to the LongIslandPress: The demise of handwriting is also a cognitive loss. The enhancement of neurological processes involved in the skill of writing is wide-ranging.
If our kids can no longer sign their names, how will they make credit card purchases? Oh, right…online. Well, how about signing checks, oh yeah…online banking. Okay, but at least consider those poor souls whose job is to analyze handwriting—what will they do now?
I’ll admit I don’t know if the ability to read and write in cursive is necessary for success in the future, I only know it makes me sad to see it disappearing. After all, if spending hours a day making endless circles and loops and curlicues was good enough for my generation…
Should all schools require a proficiency in handwriting in order to graduate? Or, should cursive be allowed to go the way of the dinosaurs?
Thanks for stopping by.
Tags: Philip Stanhope, cursive, SAT,