Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pride In Penmanship

I received an invitation in the mail the other day from my twenty-one year old niece.   It looked like it had been printed by a seven year old.  No offense niece since I spoke to your mother and she informed me that children of your generation were not taught cursive writing.   I find that appalling and totally unacceptable.  Talk about the dumbing down of America.  Can it be true?   I am not a parent, so I am not familiar with the curriculum of todays schools, but my sister in law informed me that teaching cursive was stopped years ago since keyboarding and texting became the norm.   What I asked?   A generation who have no personal signature?   How will they write checks, make lists, write in diaries, send love letters and handwritten personal thank you notes?   They do it in chicken scratch printing.   I fault all the parents of these children for not insisting that their school districts continue to teach their children how to write.   I for one have always prided myself on my penmanship.   I remember being taught in school by Miss Royer and I loved the flow of the pencil as I practiced my cursive letters.   I would practice my signature for hours, doodling it in my notebooks.   As I went through school, I observed different teachers penmanship and I picked and chose whose I liked and imitated until I mastered their style.   To this day I can write in different styles depending on my mood.   I love writing in my journals and garden logs and while texting and keyboarding have their fine points, one should always still be able to express oneself by setting pen or pencil to paper and letting the words flow with beautiful, unique penmanship.   I have heard that certain states - Indiana being one of them - plan on reinstating cursive teaching in their schools and I applaud them.   To have generations of Americans  never master the art and joy of writing in cursive is a disgrace and should be a national issue, not just a state issue.   Teachers wake up and insist that your students learn handwriting!

Since 2010, 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core standards, which do not require cursive instruction but leave it up to the individual states and districts to decide whether they want to teach it.  Several states have tried to resurrect cursive writing. California, Georgia and Massachusetts have laws mandating cursive instruction, and last month, legislators in Idaho passed a bill instructing the state Board of Education to include cursive in the curriculum.  Some experts contend that nice handwriting can lead to better grades in school.  According to a 2006 College Board report, SAT essays written in cursive received a slightly higher score than those written in block print. But only 15 percent of the essays were written in cursive.

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