The curse of cursive

The loopy, flowing letters that make up the cursive alphabet are not only useful in everyday life, but they also are aesthetically pleasing.

The loopy, flowing letters that make up the cursive alphabet are not only useful in everyday life, but they also are aesthetically pleasing.

Try and remember the last time you used cursive. For most of the population, it was only to sign a document or check. This brings up the question of why are we still teaching it in school?

Many citizens are wondering the same thing. In fact, the debate has grown so much a bill was introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly on Thursday, Feb. 21, that would require public schools to teach cursive in the classrooms. The bill was in response to concerns that North Carolina schools, which are not required by law to teach cursive, were going to choose not to teach it to make room for the common core curriculum.

The bill, nicknamed the “Back to Basics Bill” by it’s supporters, wants cursive writing to be taught by the fifth grade. It would also require multiplication tables to be taught, although there is no specified deadline at this point.

I myself am conflicted about this bill. On one hand, students who need to write a lot in a short amount of time, such as the SAT, could benefit greatly from learning cursive. On the other, if schools were not required to teach cursive, students would have more time to learn information that would be useful in everyday life such as drug education or healthful living . With the introduction of word processing and laptop computers or tablets everywhere, cursive does not seem like a necessity.

However, some cursive activists see only the benefits. Left handed people are able to write without dragging their hands across the ink, some people will learn to spell better from muscle memory gained by using the loopy language, and the ability to read historical documents such as the Constitution will be greatly increased.

The legislation was introduced by six lawmakers, all of them Republican. How do you think they sign their names? Cursive. Do you think the General Assembly is doing math with an Abacus and roman numerals? No, they use multiplication and standard digits. It seems premature to consign cursive and multiplication to the dustbin of history.

The bill will be voted upon some time in early spring.

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