31 July, 2011

In Defense of Good Penmanship


July 3, 2011
Archaic Method? Cursive writing no longer has to be taught

TERRE HAUTE — Starting this fall, the Indiana Department of Education will no longer require Indiana’s public schools to teach cursive writing.

State officials sent school leaders a memo April 25 telling them that instead of cursive writing, students will be expected to become proficient in keyboard use

Just reading the above set my blood boiling.  Are they telling us that cursive writing is obsolete?  Will our next president print his name on documents, or worse, just pen a big X? How are we going to determine if a check signature is a forgery if there is no signature? Will our grand kids even be able to read cursive, I mean little things like the Declaration of Independence?

At the risk of slotting myself in with the dinosaurs, I'll admit that I learned cursive script back in the 50's, actually using an inkwell and a nib pen (no, not quill). The nuns were very fussy about our writing, both its form and neatness.  No dribbles, no ink blotches, no unfinished loops.  And certainly no I's dotted with little hearts.

Of course this was all before the Internet and email took over the world, before brides considered it good form to send out email wedding invitations and, horrors of all horrors, to send email thank you notes.

What happened to sitting down with nice notepaper and actually composing and penning a heartfelt thank you note to the person who spent not only money, but precious time, picking out that gift?

As a boarding school graduate, I can vividly remember the excitement of checking my mail cubby every day, and exhilaration of finding an envelope from home or  a postcard from a friend "incarcerated" at a distant school.

I'm not denying the usefulness of keyboarding -- I keyboard my manuscripts -- but this shouldn't be an either or situation. One should not be required to make a choice; both should be taught. Not every kid can afford a computer, not every situation is keyboard viable.
  
The nation's founding documents were written in cursive.

Colour me old fashioned, but writing is a beautiful art of expression. Which you would rather read?

How do I love you, let me count the ways

or

hw do i lov u? let me count d wAz



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