Write cursive out of school curriculum

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Write cursive out of school curriculum

Staff Writer Owen Codere writes that teaching cursive is a waste of time.

Staff Writer Owen Codere writes that teaching cursive is a waste of time.

Graphic Kyla Pelham

Staff Writer Owen Codere writes that teaching cursive is a waste of time.

Graphic Kyla Pelham

Graphic Kyla Pelham

Staff Writer Owen Codere writes that teaching cursive is a waste of time.

Owen Coderre, Staff Writer

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While I believe there are many pointless skills that we learn in school every year, there has always been one that has haunted me the most.  A subject that is forced upon nearly everyone and was claimed to be a practical way to improve and accelerate writing: cursive.

Cursive has been taught as far back as the 1700s with the purpose of conjoining letters while writing to improve flow and speed.

Personally, I learned cursive along with all of my classmates in the fourth grade, however, the grade in which it is taught varies from school to school.  No matter when it’s taught, the majority of elementary schools require cursive to be taught.

The main reason why I find cursive to be such an impractical subject to be taught in elementary school is that it is just not used in life.  I spent my whole fourth-grade year writing everything in cursive, and since then I have not used it in a practical way.

Sure, there are some exceptions; for instance, whenever I write my signature I use cursive.  While most people also use cursive for their signature, I still do not believe this is a logical reason for it to be taught for a whole year.  A cursive signature will not make a legal document more legal; it will just make the name appear more unique and fancy. A year of learning cursive at an elementary level is not necessary for someone to develop their personal signature.

Cursive originally was created for writing efficiently with a quill and ink to prevent smudges and broken tips.  As surprising as it may seem, since arriving at Algonquin, I have yet to see someone using a quill and ink to write.  In fact, the only time I have seen anyone using a quill and ink to write ever has been in a historical film or movie. Nonetheless, throughout the years, the tradition of this style of penmanship continued to be passed on even when technology advanced and ballpoint pens were invented.  At the time, people still claimed it was a faster way of writing and thus speculated it would remain valuable in the future.

However, as revealed in the 2018 NPR article “So Longhand: Has Cursive Reached The End Of The Line?”, “cursive actually turns out to be slower than print, though the fastest style is a hybrid of the two.”  A year is not needed for each student to develop their own hybrid style. At most a few weeks would be needed to introduce the new style, then the students should be encouraged to develop their own efficient way of writing quickly and neatly.

Another argument against removing cursive from school curricula is that it is a part of our history and that kids should be able to read documents such as the United States Constitution, which is written in cursive.  

I disagree. I believe that teaching kids how to write cursive does not give them an advantage while trying to decipher the text of the Constitution.  I spent over a year learning how to read and write cursive, yet the Constitution still looks as foreign as it did before. And when I did need to pass that history test, it was actually much easier to find typed versions of the Constitution than photographs of the original cursive document. Spoiler alert: the meaning of the words didn’t change when the fonts they were written in did.

As explained by Keith Wagstaff, a writer for “The Week” magazine, “An hour spent teaching cursive is an hour spent not teaching something that will actually be relevant to children’s lives.”

I believe that students should be taught something more valuable at such an early age that prepares them for growing up.  Those who grow up and are still interested in cursive should be given the opportunity to learn it as an elective in high school or college, or even during an after-school enrichment program in elementary schools.  Yet it should not be a topic that every student is forced to learn. Instead of struggling to make the perfect uppercase Q 50 times, those hours in elementary school would have been better spent on the substance, style, and ideas of writing– not what it physically looks like.

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