Cursing and now curing the cursive curse
My friend’s second-grader isn’t learning it yet — but I guess that’s not odd since my other pal’s kids didn’t hear about it from their teachers until the third grade.
But even then, the entire lesson lasted for the equivalent of like, oh, I don’t know, three periods or so. Um, out of the entire school year. Grrr.
My sister really started this whole conversation a few weeks ago by casually mentioning that she is teaching her nephew (on her husband’s side) to write in cursive.
It’d have been an adorable story — if he was four. He’s 14. He’s a freshman in high school for crying out loud!
“Wait, what?” I said, the writer in me about to flip out higher than the loops in John Hancock’s signature on the Declaration of Independence.
As a writer, blogger and Catholic grade school graduate, I was not only deeply offended by these revelations, I was absolutely flummoxed. If you don’t know what flummoxed means, you probs aren’t from my penmanship era.
Sure, I knew that society was moving away from my beloved cursive script. I read the articles circa 2010 stating that the Common Core standards of education were all but eradicating it from existence, though I think I sufficiently deleted them from my mental card catalog. Yes, I am old.
I think I had blocked out that regulatory tragedy in total until Gina’s innocent remark set me off like a congregation of cuckoos as a calligraphy convention.
Sure, pen and paper have been sufficiently sidelined by email and texting and snap chats, oh my. Don’t even get me started on the cataclysm that is instant messaging. The grammar gods weep.
Naturally, I’m all for efficient communication, not to mention being a great advocate for STEM education, especially in encouraging girls to be scientists and researchers and astronauts and … Ah, another time, another column. Back to the basics.
Which is all I’m saying. Guess which common denominator is an important part of all communication, education, business, entertainment and, you know, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
Grammar. Language. Syntax. Semantics. Um, hello, where does all conversation begin and end? WORDS, people. (And nonverbals, sure, but try to build an entire civilization on ’em. No can do.)
And it all starts with being able to read, write and sign your own flippity-flipping name, for Pete’s sake!
I am happy to report that the Buckeye State is leading the charge in returning cursive writing to its proper place of importance in American grade schools.
According to an article published in the New York Times in April:
“Last month, a law went into effect in Ohio providing funding for materials to help students learn cursive by fifth grade.”
Yeah, that’s right. We’re trendsetters, yo. Because, shortly thereafter, in an effort not to be messed with, Texas enacted legislation ensuring that by fall “second-graders in Texas will learn cursive and will be required to know how to write it legibly by third grade.”
Don’t just take it from me that learning longhand is beneficial. That same Times article explains that cursive should make a comeback for its positive results on brain development, motor skills, comprehension and memory. So there.
I can hear the heavenly chorus of nuns who taught the multitude of school children across the nation for centuries echoing the joyous strains of “Oh Handwriting, Oh Handwriting, how lovely are thy letters! … And stop slouching!”