Cursive Handwriting Will No Longer Be Taught in Schools Because It's a Big, Old Waste of Time

Seven states are fighting to continue teaching penmanship in schools

By John Boone Nov 15, 2013 6:52 PMTags
Cursive HandwritingiStock

Also, because computers.

The biggest controversy to take place in the world of penmanship is happening right now: The Common Core education standards dictate that cursive will no longer be taught in elementary schools. And things are getting pretty heated.

Where does your allegiance fall?

Seven states—California, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Utah—are now fighting to keep cursive in the curriculum. Their argument is that "it helped distinguish the literate from the illiterate."

Jokes on them because all kids are illiterate these days. Because again: computers.

"It's much more likely that keyboarding will help students succeed in careers and in school than it is that cursive will," said Morgan Polikoff, assistant professor of K-12 policy and leadership at the University of Southern California. So instead of cursive, kids might learn keyboarding.

Here's our two cents: You spend the entire year in third grade learning how to write in cursive and then will never, ever write in cursive again. Instead, schools should add additional spelling lessons to the curriculum. Kids are more tech savvy these days, but because of Microsoft Spell Check, NOBODY knows how to spell without a computer anymore.

Let's spend that time teaching kids that there is a difference between language used to text and tweet and proper, written English. It's no longer a matter of knowing "your" vs. "you're," it's learning that it's definitely never "ur."

Also, the capital, cursive "Q" looks so stupid.

Advocates for learning cursive (including Idaho representative Linden Bateman, 72) argue that "more areas of the human brain are engaged when children use cursive handwriting than when they keyboard."

Bateman continues, "The fluid motion employed when writing script enhances hand-eye coordination and develops fine motor skills, in turn promoting reading, writing and cognition skills."

And if that's the reasons schools taught cursive, sure, fine. That's great. Also, there are plenty of other ways that kids can develop hand-eye coordination that doesn't involve spending a year of their prime development time learning a new alphabet.

But Bateman also argues that forgoing cursive may have much more consequential results: He argues we "will lose the ability to interpret valuable cultural resources—historical documents, ancestors' letters and journals, handwritten scholarship — if they can't read cursive."

"The Constitution of the United States is written in cursive. Think about that," Bateman said.

The Constitution of the United States is also available online, typed out. Not in cursive. Soooooo...We're probably good.