Is cursive becoming a curse?

Posted on May 20, 2016 by Debbie Gunnoe

Cursive writing or script, as some call it, seems like such a minor piece of education. Yet when it is removed from the curriculum, the education system fails the children. Some argue cursive is antiquated or obsolete, given most “writing” is now done on a computer. However, there are critical aspects of education that come along with learning cursive…individualism, creativity, memory, hand-eye coordination, motor skills and personal achievement. Without it, we regress to an era when a signature was most often nothing more than an “X.” Not knowing cursive gives the perception of being uneducated or lacking in critical life skills.
For years, teaching cursive was not a mandate in Florida’s education system. It came down to teachers allocating their time between endless standardized test preparation and what was seen as “fluff.” Then with the introduction of Common Core, the final fate of cursive writing seemed sealed, as there was no requirement anywhere to be found in the standards. Fortunately, the issue was raised during town hall meetings held prior Common Core’s full implementation in 2014. As a result, learning cursive was amended to the standards; however, it would not be tested.
Given it is still not a mandate, many students are left in the dark when it comes to cursive. The problem with not learning cursive hits hard when young adults leave school and start to work. That first paycheck comes and they don’t know how to sign their names to endorse it. Back in 2014, I met a young man who overheard my concerns about students not learning cursive. He approached me and said he was embarrassed when he went to cash his first paycheck; he couldn’t endorse it. It impacted him so much he found a book and taught himself. It’s truly a shame there are such stories out there.
People must know how to write cursive and read it. Not everything is printed these days. A personal letter from an elder relative cannot be read, neither can America’s founding documents like the Declaration of Independence or Constitution. If you cannot write cursive, you cannot read cursive, and much is lost for those who cannot do either.