The Declaration of Independence. The Bill of Rights. The Gettysburg Address. Jane Austen‘s original manuscripts. All of these important documents were written in cursive. Will anyone be able to read them in 100 years?
As the importance of computer literacy and typing skills continues to rise, skills like cursive writing are falling by the wayside. This article by Katie Hetter on CNN shows handwritten notes from teenage pop stars like Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber and illustrates how the lack of emphasis on handwriting skills in schools today leads to bad handwriting later in life. Many celebrities under 30 years old are notorious for their illegible signatures and childlike printing. Experts say that bad handwriting is frustrating for readers and causes negative impressions to be formed about the writer. This could actually be a problem for teenagers who aren’t famous pop stars and are applying to colleges or searching for jobs.
In many states, individual school districts are now allowed to decide whether or not to teach elementary school children how to write in cursive. For those who spent second, third and fourth grade struggling to form a capital Q, the elimination of cursive may seem like a gift to America’s children. Columnist D.L. Stewart writes: “Eventually all those classroom hours previously devoted to learning how to dot your i’s and cross your t’s can be replaced by more relevant lessons, such as how to convert U.S. dollars into Chinese yuan.”
Others lament the loss of cursive and the beauty that comes with an elegantly handwritten note. Certainly, cursive has played an important part in Western cultural history. John Hancock‘s giant signature just wouldn’t look the same on a word processed page. But today’s kids often focus more on speed and content as opposed to the presentation of information. Has the time come to leave fancy handwriting behind?
Photo credit: whgrad