A curs(ive) on schools


David Micali, Crier Staff

On March 27, 2018, North Carolina lawmakers announced that an investigation discovered that a large number of public schools were breaking a 2013 law that required all students to be able to “create readable documents through legible cursive handwriting by the end of fifth grade.”

Meanwhile, in Indiana, a new state law was proposed that ensures public schools may teach cursive.

In the third grade, I often struggled with both writing and reading cursive. The month-long endeavor made me learn a skill I would never use.

I find both the North Carolina law and the proposed Indiana law to be ridiculous. Cursive is an antiquated method of writing and schools should not waste time teaching it.

One of the main arguments in favor of teaching cursive is that if students do not learn it then “they won’t be able to read the Constitution.” I find this argument to be rather absurd for two main reasons.

Primarily, it would be ridiculous if a person were to argue that “we need to teach every student hieroglyphics or else they will be unable to read the Rosetta stone or the writings on obelisks,” yet the same argument is used for cursive.

The argument that one “needs to teach X or people will be unable to read Y” could be used to validate any form of writing such as shorthand, calligraphy, or even wingdings.

Furthermore, one does not need to be able to read cursive in order to read the Constitution.

A simple Google search supplies hundreds of non-cursive versions of the document including, but not limited to, Constitutionus.com, the official website for the National Archives, and Cornell Law School. One can view and read all of these sites without knowing how to read cursive.

Cursive itself has been made replaced by other ways of communicating. Cursive was originally designed to make writing faster, allowing the writer to not have to lift his or her pen or pencil off the page as often.

Teaching this system of writing so that students could write more in a shorter amount of time might have made sense in the nineteenth or even twentieth century.

However, in the twenty-first century, typing is the fastest way to put words on a page. It is also faster and neater than any form of writing.

If schools are supposed to teach children skills that prepare them for the real world, then typing is a far more valuable skill than cursive.

In the third grade, while I learned cursive, I also learned typing. The skills I acquired while learning typing have been far more useful and far more prevalent in my life than the skills I acquired while learning how to write cursive.

The only thing that cursive is good for is one’s signature, which just so happens to be the only two words I still remember how to write in cursive.

Cursive is an antiquated system of writing and, as a result, it has declined in use. Yet there are still individuals that cling to the old ways of writing and advocate for bills, such as the 2013 “Back to Basics” bill in North Carolina.

If cursive were to be taught in schools, then teachers should teach children how to write their signature. Anything more would be an unnecessary waste of time for both the teacher and the student.