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Is Cursive Writing Becoming Obsolete? Here's What We Think

Pushpa Duddukuri Jun 30, 2019
Cursive is about to become extinct. Do we raise the red flag? To teach or not to teach cursive, is the question that several state education departments are struggling with.

Origin of Cursive

The inventor of cursive script is believed to be Aldus Manutius, a 15th century printer from Venice. He published several Greek and Latin classics in his famous Aldine Press.
Before you read this write-up, do a simple exercise. Pick a pen and paper and start writing in cursive. Yes, that fancy handwriting that you learned in grade school. You may not have forgotten the good times you had while writing loopy Ps and Gs as well as curly Ms and Ns.
The chances are you won't be able to write it as excellently as you used to. Some people are good at making the perfect loops and curls, while some are bad.
Coming to the point, is it true that the fancy penmanship, that we fretfully learned in our school days is dying? Are the kids from today's generation hardly or never going to use cursive, unless they print their assignment paper in cursive font? Let's explore this issue.

A Dying Art or an Anachronism?

In this digital age, QWERTY has become the norm and writing anything with your hand has become the past. Not to a shock that cursive is hardly used by kids, even adults don't write in this style, unless they are using it for their signature.
Learning this hand was a rite of passage in school for several decades. However, in 2011, the Indiana Department of Education made it optional for schools to teach cursive writing to the students. In fact, Indiana was not the only state to follow this rule. There were 46 more states who have also done the same.
There are some who believe that it is high time for cursive to retire from school curriculum, just like abacus and the slide rule or slip stick. After all, if we don't leave the past behind, we cannot make way for new things.
If you walk into any classroom, you would find children using keyboards to communicate in written form. On the other hand, aficionados of this penmanship swear by its usefulness.
They remind us that if we stop teaching and learning cursive in schools, very soon most of our historical documents will become illegible to us. For instance, The Declaration of Independence, which is written in cursive, would seem like a foreign language to the future generation. Well, point duly noted.
There are some who aren't giving up on cursive so easily. Sylvia Hughes, of New Jersey formed a cursive writing club after learning that her grandchildren are not learning this hand in school. Now, the members of this club has increased to 60 students.
Even science has something to say on this matter. Hanover Research, after studying a suburban school district, concluded that students in elementary school require writing exercises for 15 min on a daily basis to hone their motor skills.
In 2012, Sen. Jean Leising sponsored a bill named Senate Bill 120, which aimed to reverse the decision taken by the Indiana Department of Education to make teaching cursive writing optional in schools. Though the bill passed the Senate, it never reached the floor of the Indiana House of Representatives. However, that didn't stop Sen.
Leising from taking up the issue again. In 2013, Indiana lawmakers have again started to push this issue forward. The bill, if passed, would make it mandatory for all public schools and accredited private schools to focus on teaching cursive writing.
So, where do we stand on this subject? Is it the right time to erase an almost forgotten handwriting and embrace the keyboarding world? Or can we do both without compromising on our school curriculum?