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Cursive writing is an anachronism. Spending any classroom time on it is comparable to teaching how to use an abacus: it’s interesting as a history lesson, and probably offers some side benefits, but it is not at all practical as a day-to-day skill in the modern, connected world.

We live in the online age, where communication mostly involves typing. Partially for this reason, the controversial Common Core requirements in the United States do not mention cursive handwriting. Still, many states are forcing schools to teach it anyway, from California to Tennessee. School systems all over the world are similarly clinging to the past, in the form of loopy letters.

The problem: time kids spend learning to write curvy, connected words, is time kids could be spending learning the basics of programming Kids Can Learn Programming Basics With "Make Your Own Flappy Bird" In 20 Minutes Kids Can Learn Programming Basics With "Make Your Own Flappy Bird" In 20 Minutes Flappy Bird has flown off beyond the digital horizon. But its simplicity continues to inspire. Thanks to Code.org, anyone can design their own Flappy Bird game in 20 minutes. Read More and any number of other technology skills 5 Technology Skills You Should Actively Encourage Children To Take Up 5 Technology Skills You Should Actively Encourage Children To Take Up Crayon drawings still have their place, but technology is no longer only the future. Tomorrow's world is today.Which are the creative technology tasks we should encourage children to take up? Maybe, these five... Read More they’ll need in our increasingly connected world. If we’re going to add skills to the curriculum – and we should – something has to go. It might as well be the skill most people never use.

Hardly Anyone Uses Cursive

Cursive should be allowed to die. In fact, it’s already dying, despite having been taught for decades. – Morgan Polikoff

Almost everyone reading this article was taught cursive in school, but most of you don’t use it.

cursive-writing

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“Much of our communication is done on a keyboard, and the rest is done with print,” says Morgan Polikoff, assistant professor of education at The Univeristy of Southern California. “While both research and common sense indicate students should be taught some form of penmanship, there is simply no need to teach students both print and cursive.”

There’s only so much time in the day, and which skills we decide to teach has a dramatic impact on the lives of students. Does it really make sense to prioritize an obsolete ability?

It’s Not About The Extra Benefits

Learning cursive does offer some benefits: it helps develop fine motor skills, for example, and stimulates certain regions of the brain.

You could make similar arguments about almost anything. Playing the original Super Mario Bros helps develop fine motor skills, for example, but requiring school children to play that game 15 minutes a day would be an (admittedly awesome) waste of time.

super-mario-bros

If cursive is taught, it should be taught not as an essential life skill but as an art – like calligraphy – or as an interesting relic of the past. Modern people don’t use it, and education systems should stop pretending they do.

Bad Reasons To Learn Useless Skills

Cards on the table: penmanship was my least favourite class as a kid (with the possible exception of math). I shudder to think of the time I spent learning cursive: 15 minutes of schooling, every day.

It’s a staggering waste – but even worse, in retrospect, were the reasons my teachers said it was important.

“You’re going to use this every day,” I was told.

I don’t.

“In college, if you can’t write cursive, you won’t be able to take notes fast enough.”

I didn’t use cursive; I kept up just fine.

Of course, teachers gave me lots of bad reasons for learning things – that doesn’t mean learning them isn’t important. I hated learning multiplication tables, but was told it was important because when I grow up I “won’t be carrying a calculator with me everywhere”.

iphone-calculator

That prediction didn’t turn out, but I’m not bitter about learning multiplication tables – I use that skill multiple times every day.

So while I hated both penmenship and math class, I’m not upset about multiplication tabels. The problem with cursive is I never use it.

Surveys show most adults feel the same way. Typing is faster, and print is fast enough when you happen to need to use paper (and it’s increasingly possible to avoid paper entirely The Future Is Here - Your Guide to Having a Paperless Life Today The Future Is Here - Your Guide to Having a Paperless Life Today Paperless – a term that is used quite often now days. But what does it mean? And to what extent does it apply? Certainly we all still use paper to some degree despite the advancements... Read More ).

Education Should Focus On The Future

Just because you learned something in school doesn’t mean your kids should: the world is changing, quickly. And while it’s hard to make predictions about where technology is headed 8 Spectacularly Wrong Predictions About Computers & The Internet 8 Spectacularly Wrong Predictions About Computers & The Internet Read More , it’s safe to say the future won’t involve a lot of cursive handwriting (unless some kind of disaster sends us back to 14th-century technology, in which case handwriting will be the least of our problems).

There’s only so many hours in a day, so it’s important education systems prioritize. Every hour spent learning an obsolete skill like cursive is time they’re not learning the programming skills needed for great jobs How To Pick A Programming Language To Learn Today & Get A Great Job In 2 Years How To Pick A Programming Language To Learn Today & Get A Great Job In 2 Years It can take years of dedicated work to become a truly good programmer; so is there a way to choose the right language to start from today, in order to get hired tomorrow? Read More , or other essential life-skills like managing your money 10 Great Apps To Manage And Save Money In 2014 10 Great Apps To Manage And Save Money In 2014 Since your smartphone is always with you, it’s a great resource for monitoring your budget, calculating interest or finding coupons. Read More .

I’m not an education expert, but I don’t think the politicians mandating cursive writing are either. Having said that, I’d love to hear what you think: is cursive obsolete? What should schools be teaching instead? Let’s discuss this below, and know that it’s perfectly possible I’m wrong about this (I’m wrong about a lot of things).

  1. Steve
    August 25, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Everyone uses cursive every single time a signature is required. Children need to learn cursive to at least know how to sign their names. Astonishingly, many teens can't.

    • joe blow
      September 4, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      yes, the notion that it is primitive and not useful is completely absurd, its several times faster than print writing. kids dont even take notes in college any more, they snap pictures of the chalkboard and record all the lectures for playback through headphones during their tests. The only thing kids are learning is how to copy paste the answer into the appropriate field.
      america has fallen so far behind other nations in terms of education that this just seems nonsensical.

  2. Chrissy
    August 22, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    I find this so annoying. If people don't want to use cursive, then fine, don't. But stop acting like it's "obsolete" just because of computers. If we're going to go by modern technology then the new spelling of cool is kewl and hot is hawt, etc... My nieces know how to use a computer quite well, but when they read, they don't know basic words. I guess I don't understand why it's an either or thing. I'm 34 and learned cursive in 2nd grade. It didn't take up this huge portion of my life. I don't see how it's such a big deal. It just isn't an either or scenario. Teach coding, teach computer technology, but teach handwriting and cursive when kids are small. My niece was doing her math homework with me there to help if needed and she pulled out her calculator to do her division. I know the calculator knows how to do the math, but I don't know that you do. I think once you learn something then you can go ahead and take short cuts. Learn basic math principles and when you understand then, take the shortcut and use a calculator. Learn how to write in cursive and print and then focus on computers. The funny thing is that computers weren't what they are now when I was little, but just as we were learning cursive, we also were sent to a computer class and we'd work on computers. So if people of my age group were able to do it, then kids today can too. If cursive becomes obsolete, I'm still going to use it. I enjoy writing in cursive. It doesn't slow me down or cause any issues.

    • Mykel Winterstine
      September 7, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      My third grader had to return a form this morning with his signature and I knew he couldn't do it. I wrote his teacher a little note ( in cursive) as to why he couldn't do it. Almost all legal documents require a signature. Kids are only learning how to pass standardized tests.

  3. Eydin
    August 20, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    As an adult college student (BA '11, MA '16, both in History) I can tell you I never received comments or notes on any of my papers that were in print, it was always cursive. If I were unable to read these comments I would A) not be able to improve my work to the standards of the professor and B) look like a fool to the said professor when I told them I could not read what they wrote. As my degrees are in history, I can say I have spent many hours pouring over poor penmanship in historic documents written in cursive. Sure I can go onto the internet and see the Constitution written in print, but someone has to be able to read the script to make such a transcription. Furthermore, in reference to one commenter speaking of Latin, one of the things that a student of Latin does is translate the great philosophers. Thus they are not only practicing the skill, but also learning a second subject at the same time. But then I guess reading the great thinkers ideas on the nature of man, government, and morality are useless skills too.

  4. Sonja
    August 12, 2016 at 1:52 am

    The future is bilingualism/multilingualism. Most people today speak more than a single language.

    Becoming multilingual requires learning many different kinds of scripts and being able to write in them as native speakers do. Not even learning several modes of writing in your own language is not a good start. This type of rigidity and refusal to learn more than one means of writing should have no place in language arts.

    The future isn't what computer geeks tell you it is. Fostering dependency on computer technology increases their bottom line; whether their advice always does the rest of us good is a separate issue.

  5. Jack Daniels
    August 4, 2016 at 12:32 am

    I was forced to learn cursive in school but I never really got a good grasp on it. With practice I got somewhat better but it was always an exercise in frustration and I absolutely hated writing, it was so tedious. It took so much mental energy on the physical side of writing that I hardly had any left to devote to the content. Then computers came about and I learned to type, suddenly I could lay down words fluently with so little thought spent on the actual process that I could focus instead on what I was writing. Suddenly I realized what I hated so much was not writing so much as the physical process of trying to draw tidy little loopy letters by hand. My writing improved drastically, my grades went up, I've never looked back, and throughout my career in engineering I have never once missed cursive. I can still read it if I have to, although it's rare that I encounter it. I can still sign my name, though like most people my signature more closely resembles a squiggle than any form of proper cursive.

    I really have a hard time understanding the attachment some people have to writing in cursive. I'm all for offering it as an elective to those who have an interest in learning but there are so many more important skills that we are not teaching adequately or at all in school. Cursive is as obsolete as Latin, another formerly taught skill that is still offered to those who wish to learn it but not required by everyone and rarely used in day to day life. It irritates me to see people belittling those who can't write in cursive as if they're stupid or pathetic. Is a person who can't read C++ or HTML code similarly stupid or pathetic?

    • Sonja
      August 9, 2016 at 4:01 am

      Latin isn't obsolete for speakers of a Romance language.

      Speakers of Spanish, Italian, French, or Portuguese who also study Latin, even for a short time, can pick up other Romance languages much more quickly. They often are able to develop better academic English skills as well, using the insights they learned in Latin class.

      Our only living Nobel Prize winner in literature, Toni Morrison, took Latin all four years at university.

      Of course, your aspirations may be somewhat lower, but don't impose that on the new generation.

    • Sonja
      August 9, 2016 at 4:10 am

      Oh, and needless to say, all of those Romance language speakers learn cursive in first grade.

      How do they manage to find the time?

  6. Concerned Parent
    June 29, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    I would argue that there is no future without learning from our past.

    But more than that, we use cursive all the time. Signing our names and reading historical texts or old letters. I can tell you I won't be the parent who let's my daughter grow up not being able to read the constitution, the bill of rights, and other important texts. I will home-school her if I don't agree with her school's curriculum, like when her history classes leave out people like Nikola Tesla or make her fill out worksheets on the Pillars of Islam.

  7. Kelly
    April 30, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Right, because anything from /before/ the computer age is obsolete, too right? Like, oh, I don't know... The Declaration of Independence? The Constitution? Ah, it's not like anyone uses those things anyway so yea, you've probably got a point......

  8. BeepBoopBeepBoop
    April 12, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Cursive writing shows up everywhere in graphic design whether it's on the computer or in print. In fact I've made more use of cursive than I have of all the years I spent taking algebra classes. But of course we live in a dumbed down world now and people don't even have to spell words correctly. Computers do it for them. We hold our brains in our hands and call them "smart" phones.
    Hey artists! Throw away your sketchbooks and just hit the easy art button on your laptop!

  9. Zannah
    April 5, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    They are preparing people for microchipping.. If people cannot write their names to sign checks etc.. then there will have to be another way to validate their identity.

    • dick
      April 9, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      Take off your tinfoil hat and go for a walk

    • Some guy
      April 21, 2016 at 10:33 pm

      Whats micro chipping?

  10. B Mill
    April 1, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    I learned Cursive in school, we did not spend a lot of time on it at all. I remember doing it as homework as a kid. Teach programming in place of Cursive? I'm all for teaching programming, but that is so much more time consuming than cursive. Why not teach kids how to type? That will not be nearly as time consuming as teaching programming and everyone will be able to use that skill until there are no keyboards anymore if that ever happens. If it's truely a problem of not having the time to teach cursive which I find beyond ridiculous, you won't have the time required to teach programming if you are replacing cursive with programming. What language do you suggest is taught? Basic? or is it to outdated. Java? it seems more relevant, C++ better wait for high school, php? the language of the web... We live in an age where fox news suggests that schools should do away with Algebra because they don't see a use for it since it was difficult for them to even pass. So I guess signatures will be a thing of the past, and those of us that still use cursive will probably be seen as crazy people that try to communicate with hyroglifics.

  11. Victoria
    March 18, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    I use cursive all the time. My biggest question is, when purchasing a home, car, loan etc, how will thet SIGN their name?

  12. Murry
    March 2, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    I just came across this post whilst searching Google for reasons why people wrote in cursive in the first place (economic status, faster writing, a form of art, etc.), and upon finding this, I want to say fuck your opinion. Are you kidding me? Teach programming? First let's think of all the people who are already in the trade. I think we have enough, and making more will choke out those actually looking for a job in such field. Second of all do you have any idea the effects that writing in cursive has on the brain? It works our creativity and sets the neurotransmitters to fire (I'd say more so than typing in code all day long). It's beautiful artwork that DOES INCLUDE practical uses- we still need to sign our checks and other orders of paperwork in cursive. So just because Justin hated penmanship courses AND thinks computers are the shit- bam. Oh wait, this is an OPINION article! Well then, I hope you've enjoyed my expression.

  13. John
    February 29, 2016 at 5:59 am

    Do you really believe that a significant proportion of can actually learn enough about programming for it to be useful? I really don't care to meet anymore jquery "programmers."
    I swear to God, if I see another person import three plugins to change the text of a div...

    Maybe we should just not call it programming.

    • Justin Pot
      February 29, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      It's been over a year at this point, I think, but you're the first person to complain about the article from this perspective. Congratulations!

      Programming is admittedly just one example of many of what schools could be using that time for, but I think at least grasping the basics of how computers work could be valuable in this day and age.

  14. ahope2474
    February 23, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    This isn't an argument for or against, but I really hate that my daughter can't read the letters written to her by her grandmother because she was not taught cursive in school. I have to read my 11-year-old anything that is handwritten because they are usually in cursive. That is sad to me. Also, it is sad to think that she can't read the original Declaration of Independence or Constitution of the United States either.

  15. TR
    February 22, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Cursive is essential. Most of the founding documents of this country were written in cursive. If it is no longer taught is in 50 years only a few scholars will be able to read the original documents and the rest of us will have to rely on their interpretation, much like when the Bible was only written in Latin. It also serves to separate kids from the founders and therefore the principles behind those documents.

    • Jay
      May 2, 2016 at 2:07 am

      You are aware of how many printed manuscripts exist...right...?

  16. Kyla
    February 12, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Here's the problem, Cursive writing is something established in the USA as a formal and personal writing skill that even today is uses in jobs,schools,banks,loans and in everyday life.

    It takes no time at all for kids to pick this up and keep using the skill. I myself use Cursive writing every day at work and when writing formal letters. Saying Cursive writing is as Obsolete as calligraphy,fur trapping and Latin is a ridiculous claim. Cursive writing is not some 2,000 year old dead writing nor is it a dead concept. By not teaching kids you insure their downfall once they become adults and try doing simple functions beyond that of manual labor.

    The fact that in 20 years time a now adult would need a history major with Cursive writing skills just to read them documents of 100 years (maybe less) ago, is crazy.

    Not only does Cursive writing skills help in basic functions on our world is helps in the creative thinking and opens up to art skills.
    If the schools no longer wish to teach our kids, we will.

  17. deez nutz
    January 29, 2016 at 12:40 am

    JUSTIN POT SUCKS DICK!

  18. Dana
    January 26, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Your argument would make better sense if schools actually taught programming but that doesn't happen either.

    • Justin Pot
      January 26, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      Some schools do teach programming, just not anywhere close to a majority yet. It would be nice to see that change, and if ditching the Palmer Method helps make room I'm all for it.

    • Saroop
      February 26, 2016 at 7:42 pm

      My school does teach programing in fact, it is required for all freshmen to take a programming class.

  19. WayneK
    January 25, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Those who wrote with chisel and hammer probably scoffed at the quill pen too. Things change and we advance. Language and writing are not stagnant. They evolve too. Clinging to a writing style that has no place in the modern world is akin to clinging to quill pens because retractable balls pens somehow make you less of a writer.

    • Sonja
      September 11, 2016 at 5:06 am

      No place in the modern world? You have never set foot outside the US, have you?

      What do you think most of the the rest of humanity is teaching its kids? And how many people do you think the rest of humanity might be? Er, roughly twenty times the population of the US, or more.

      What do you think all bilingual Americans know how to do? (Hint: write in c_rs__e) How do you expect monolingual Americans to keep up, or master other languages and their different means of writing, if they always stick to a single modality and refuse to be flexible?

      A notebook and pencil or pen cost about $5 and don't require a power source to plug into. You have nothing to turn off during takeoff and landing. A computer virus won't suddenly cause your notebook to go blank. Nobody can hack it remotely and steal what you've written. And rare is the person who can forge your writing; he may not exist at all.

      Suddenly, I'm thinking cursive is very well suited to the modern world. It practically defends itself, without my intervention.

  20. Barton Harder
    December 30, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Saying you don't use cursive everyday is totally incorrect. Maybe I'm wrong but when you sign something, is that not cursive? Just my thoughts! And have you not noticed spelling is better when cursive is used? Programming is fine to learn but let's teach some basics first!

    • C.A Hines
      January 9, 2016 at 12:55 am

      There is no legal obligation that anything you sign must be in cursive....

    • Jason
      January 11, 2016 at 2:51 am

      THANK YOU. i keep trying to explain to people that "signature" is not defined as the cursive writing of your name

  21. FredZ
    December 29, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    So you shouldn't be taught cursive because you'll probably never need it again? Why bother learning a foreign language, history, literature, etc? Most people will never use then. For that matter, why waste your time even going to school? You can find out everything you need to know from Google, Facebook, and Fox.

    • Justin Pot
      December 29, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      By that same logic, why not start teaching Latin again? Or navigating by compass? Or fur trapping?

      I'll say again that I'm fine with teaching calligraphy, because that's art, but the Palmer Method is too ugly to compete with proper scripts and too slow to compete with typing. It has no reason to exist, and needs to die.

    • FredZ
      December 29, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      Uh, the military still teaches compass navigation, and Harvard still teaches Latin. I wonder why?

    • FredZ
      December 30, 2015 at 1:14 am

      And btw, anyone planning on taking the PSAT or SAT is required to write a handwritten certification statement in cursive. Good luck to those who can't do it.

    • Justin Pot
      December 30, 2015 at 4:00 am

      The military is a context where navigating by compass makes sense, and of course most colleges are going to offer Latin. The question is whether these skills are so essential that /everyone/ should learn them. I'd argue not, and I bet you wouldn't either. We disagree about where cursive lies, and that's fine.

      Including something in a test isn't a reason for the educational system to keep teaching something: tests are part of the educational system. Remove the arbitrary requirement and the problem is solved.

    • FredZ
      December 30, 2015 at 5:35 am

      Actually, the College Board didn't add the handwriting requirement for testing purposes, but rather as an added security measure to help counteract the growing trend of electronic cheating.

    • Saroop
      February 26, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      This is actually incorrect, I have taken the PSAT and we were not required to take a handwritten certification statement in cursive.

    • WayneK
      January 25, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      They teach Hieroglyphics too. Doesn't mean it's mandated for everyone to learn.

  22. cursiveisnotobsolete
    December 27, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    I think they should keep cursive writing alive by teaching it in schools

    • Justin Pot
      December 27, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      You can teach kids cursive school but you can't force them to use it. They've been overwhelmingly not using it for decades.

    • Sonja
      August 18, 2016 at 3:03 am

      Correction: Anglo-American kids have generally abandoned it.

      Look over the shoulder of some Latin American child sometime. A lot of African Americans were also taught beautiful penmanship.

      I guess your social circle is a bit diversity challenged.

  23. danthmn
    November 30, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    hi

    • Justin Pot
      November 30, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      Sup?

  24. danthmn
    November 30, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    hi {:

  25. Courtney Riggin
    November 13, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    You have a memorable name! I like it.

    Here's my 2 cents, since I'm actually writing an article on this very subject right now (and that's how I found your article):

    I work with dyslexic students and learning cursive helps them considerably with letter reversals and writing fluency. Once they master it and truly become fluent in cursive it also gives them a greater chance of expressing their ideas on paper without the constant up-down motion of manuscript. Keyboarding helps them, too, but many schools simply do not have the funding for every child to do every assignment on a computer or iPad, nor can they assume that all children have access to technology at home. Some of them are even homeless or in foster systems. Allowing-- and even requiring students-- to work on with paper and pencil is a way of creating socioeconomic equality in school assignments. For students with language-based learning disorders such as dyslexia, requiring work to be done with paper and pencil means they will perform better if they know how to write in cursive. There is heavy brain research to support this, and it has been estimated that up to 17% of the population has some form of dyslexia or language-based learning difference (many factors play into how sources get their numbers, so percentages vary from 5-17% depending on the source and the spectrum being considered).

    Having an M.Ed. and certifications in Family Literacy and Reading Specializations, I think the argument (nationally) is in a good place. Schools are making decisions about cursive instruction based on their school's unique needs (such as, are they heavily ESL, do they have a large number of identified learning differences, or are most of their students living in poverty and therefore need other skills and resources more than cursive?).

    I'm not one to say it's super important and certainly shouldn't trump other skills more relevant to the changing times, but I don't agree that schools (or parents) who still want to teach it on some level are beating a dead horse. I think nationally we are right to let schools and districts decide based on their population's needs. For example, more affluent skills may decide to teach cursive in elementary because they aren't so burdened with filling more basic needs for their students, and research shows students who are adept in cursive early on perform better on the SAT and express higher order thinking skills more proficiently in academic settings. There are many reasons for this. For one, learning Cursive actually activates more areas of the brain than keyboarding or manuscript, making it an effective cognitive foundational building block for some children.

    Bottom line: brain research heavily supports handwriting instruction, so if cursive is still being taught in some schools and households it's for good reason. Far from useless or wasteful.

    Great article. I respect the weigh in from other readers and all of your points. It's good to hash these things out and filter sentiment from function. You make excellent points about reading historical documents not being a good enough reason to teach such a time-consuming skill! Still, I say it has its place, even if it's not in every school across the USA. School instruction, like anything else, cannot be completely streamlined for an entire nation.

    • Michael
      February 17, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      I'm dyslexic and cursive was the worst thing that every happened to me in grade school. I felt stupid because I couldn't form the letters correctly. This hurt my self esteem and I fell further behind due to the schools demand that I be competent in cursive, even though I could type or print legibly. Once I got to high school, I was allowed to use a typewriter or computer, and guess what? My grade went way up!!! I didn't have to focus on the aesthetics of writing, just the content, which is what really matters. As far as studies go, there are just as many that show cursive to be horrible for dyslexia. http://dyslexia.yale.edu/EDU_keyboarding.html
      I haven't used cursive, or even thought about it (other than nightmares) since I left the 8th grade, even though computers were not standard at the time. Also, if a school cant afford computers or machines for kids to type on, then the school should allow the student to submit assignments in whatever form is easiest for them. Why spend so much time and effort trying to teach kids with a learning disability a skill that can put them even further behind? It should be an elective course or not taught at all.

  26. Liebe Kellend
    November 11, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Teaching cursive doesn't take THAT long to learn or even master. It's traditionally taught at the elementary school level, 3rd or 4th grade. Are 3rd graders capable of learning programming? Seems to me that might be more suitable for middle or high school. One could argue that cursive could replace any other lesson depending on one's opinion of what's not important. Today's middle and high school students don't have their own unique signature. Legal documents still require signatures, and it would be great if they could read the birthday card Grandma wrote and the names written on the back of old family photos and documents. See also this for argument:
    http://thefederalist.com/2015/02/25/ten-reasons-people-still-need-cursive/

  27. jzroxx101
    October 16, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    You dumb.

    • Justin Pot
      October 16, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      *You're

    • Courtney Riggin
      November 13, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      Ha!

  28. kidtambie
    September 26, 2015 at 3:39 am

    I'm struggling with the visceral urge to just say a lot of childish, angry things that were stirred up by the frightening ignorance of the original article's writer. I'm well aware that this would play right into his or her hope to demonstrate that it is us "dinosaurs" that are, well -- cavemen! The truth is, however that the articles viewpoint is the one that is rigid and myopic. There are so many reasons that continuing the teaching of cursive is valuable that I don't know where to start. But let me mention the ones that are most important in my book (written in cursive). I wonder what the world would be like if we dispensed with all the "fluff" that takes up so much of our valuable time...time we could be using to best Asian or Indian students --- can't let them take the lead heavens no! ) let's start with things like cursive, but oh, please that s peanuts...let's move to more time consuming things like listening to (or composing music-- God forbid ... no one reads those funny symbols anymore). Follow that with the abolishment of all paper printed materials -- hey! We can do a book burning! Now, let's not forget fine art...talk about a waste of time! Nobody cares what the Mona Lisa was thinking or the dynamics that lead to the sister chapel
    ....or the David, or the history of the Statue of Liberty --- or history itself. Oh, and don't worry about that old saying: "he that does not know his history is doomed to repeat it" --- i'm sure we could create a computer driven "stop-loss" program that can take care of having to think about it...look how well that served us since the 1987 recession! In fact, as long as we're at it why not skip "thought" completely. Didn't Zaeger and Evans predict modern society as having a "pill" that would do that for us as well, 1984 here we come!!! What? ...didn't read that .... oops, I forgot, that went up with the book burning. Let's try to hold on to as many of our traditions as we can, for as long as we can ....it might be the only thing that reminds us of our humanity. Oops, did it again... " Humanities" are on the banned list.

    • Justin Pot
      September 26, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      If you think this is what I was arguing, clearly I didn't write my point well. To be clear: I think teaching nice scripts in art class is a great idea, but let's ditch the hideous Palmer Method. Pretending it's practical doesn't change the fact that it is:

      1. Slower than typing.
      2. Uglier than proper scripts.
      3. Harder to read than printing.

      The Palmer Method itself has only been taught since the earliest 20th century, and was itself very controversial at the time. Pretending like it's always existed, and is a symbol of history, demonstrates a profound lack of understanding that history is always and will always be an ongoing process.

    • Tyler Renelle
      September 29, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      Bit of a escalation. "Banning cursive inexorably yields banning everything in the universe".

    • Justin Pot
      September 29, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      Tyler, welcome! Hope you've got a few days freed up if you're wanting to get through all of the comments here.

  29. Joseph Herron
    September 25, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    I don't think learning cursive is the colossal waste of time you make it out to be. I mean, how long did it really take to learn it? It's not like we spend 12 years learning how to write cursive. Most of us learned it in a few days and then got better as we practiced. But I do think it may be becoming obsolete. I can't remember the last time I wrote something with cursive. And the last time I did I most likely didn't really need to use it. Most of the time when we take notes or communicate we're typing instead. And when we do write something in cursive we're often the only person that can read it anyway.

    But I also think there are much more pressing issues with our education system. Standardization for one thing. There's nothing standard about a child learning. Some of them are geared toward arts, some are into history, others are into science and some are really good at math. So, if a kid shows an aptitude for programming, why does he need to spend 12 years learning how to diagram a sentence? Or, if some kid wants to be a historian, why does he need to learn how to calculate the angle of a corner using the Pythagorean theorem? But for some reason we insist on making each child learn the same curriculum regardless of their strengths and weaknesses. We don't seem to care who they are, what they're interests are, or what they want. We try to force each child into a mold. That is why our education system is such a failure.

    When I was in high school, I took electronic fundamentals in the vocational school. I never took my books out of the lab, never studied for a test, and never scored below an A-. But history class was hopeless for me. Why? Because my memory sucks; and history is nothing but memorizing facts that have nothing to do with my ability to design a circuit. Today, as a software developer, those electronic fundamentals that I learned in high school aren't as useful as I thought they'd be. But the fact that I was so good at it should have been an indication that I would be a great programmer. Instead, I ended up working in a factory for twelve years before being laid off. Only then did I discover my talents for writing code and start down the path to being successful. If our education system wasn't such a disgrace; I might have discovered my talents as a teenager. But nope; I had to spend those years learning about things that I don't care about, and don't remember today, and indeed, things that I don't need to know and never will.

    • Sonja
      September 11, 2016 at 5:19 am

      Our educational system is a failure because people do not learn to look for the larger patterns that flow through all of the particularized subject areas that you've mentioned. If you had been taught to look for larger patterns, you would have known that your ease in understanding and designing circuits was a strong sign that you'd be great in programming as well. And in lots of other things, too.

      History and mathematics are both studies of patterns, when taught properly. They are not useless, to anyone, when taught properly. You always look to over-engineer.

  30. Nick Wilson
    September 24, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    The arguments that I have read regarding the inability to know what is written on the Constitution and other historical documents, should the teaching of cursive stop, makes absolutely no sense. By this same logic, we should still be teaching our children Latin and Greek, if not, how would we know what is contained in those ancient texts? The simple truth is language changes and the construction, form and appearance of it changes as well. And to those hard core conspiracy folks who laughably made the argument that without cursive our Constitution could be retranslated to any number of backwards things, I pose this; society can read any number of languages that have been dead for hundreds if not thousands of years. Do you really think that not teaching children the cursive font would alter that ability in our world?

    • Justin Pot
      September 24, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      Change is hard, which is why so many schools are still teaching cursive as though it's practical decades after it stopped being useful. But we'll get over this eventually – just in time for typing to be obsolete, and for my generation to crappily insist that our kids need to learn it anyway. :)

    • Sonja
      September 11, 2016 at 5:24 am

      People who study Latin and Greek have the highest LSAT scores, and can acquire new European languages much more quickly.

      People who speak multiple languages all know how to write them in cursive, and thus have choices in modality for writing, and can read handwritten texts. When you know only one way, better hope it doesn't break.

  31. Karen Gaur
    September 22, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    The the schools dumb down our kids, the more less independent thinking they become. Just how are kids to read important handwritten documents such as the 'Declaration of Independence' and the MANY others???? Well??? If they can't read cursive by the time 'all the old folk die' off, then how are they to compare a typed copy to the original?? Did the author even THINK of this? There are way too many historical documents written in CURSIVE to justify not teaching our kids this skill! What kind of morons are calling the shots these days? Idiots? Dumb down our kids so that they're more easily lied to and controlled, that's the motto of today's lousy lazy no good for anything education our kids are subjected to. This is precisely how islam got so many people to become muslim and stay muslim because most are ILLITERATE and don't know what the quran even says, and if they did know, MOST would run like hell itself was nipping at their heels! Cursive handwriting is also an art form in itself. It's a beautiful way of expressing ourselves in writing. Also, the author of this ridiculous article claims people don't use it anymore? Maybe he doesn't but most of us in fact still DO use it and quite frequently too. I would encourage parents to teach their kids cursive at home, for their sake and those that come after them. Please don't give up on them just because the the corrupted education system have.

    • Justin Pot
      September 24, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      The declaration of independence was originally a typeset document. Seriously: look it up. The fancy version you're familiar with was printed a month after July 4th.

    • Justin Pot
      September 24, 2015 at 8:58 pm
    • Luna
      December 6, 2015 at 12:40 am

      While I do believe that Karen expresses herself in a somewhat inane way (especially regarding the inclusion of Islam??) I do agree with her point about cursive. I'm 19 and was taught cursive at the age of 7. I proceeded not to use it for the next 10 years of my life until I realised I completely hated my writing and now write everything in cursive, which does give me greater pride in my work and is now much faster than my printed handwriting.
      Obviously only having an A Level in History means that I'm no expert at it, but to me, seeing something in its original form and being able to read it is vastly important. Disregarding the Declaration of Independence for a moment (because honestly it's practically the child-version of history - it's not even as old as Shakespeare! Try reading the Magna Carta), a lot of important historical documents were written before the printing press was invented or were originally handwritten. The Great Gatsby, for example, was first written in cursive, and a lot of important details that Fitzgerald omitted can be seen in his original copy.
      Kidtambie's post earlier also seems to come to a rather irrelevant conclusion because clearly banning cursive is not going to lead to banning everything, but it is important to try to preserve what we have of the past to make us more prepared for the future. I think that cursive handwriting should remain in the curriculum until children know how to use it and then allow them to decide whether they wish to continue writing in it.

    • Fred Ziffel
      January 25, 2016 at 9:39 pm
  32. Tina McCarthy
    September 21, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Print your name and sign the contract. Can't sign a legal document with out learning how to do it. I find it ridiculous that cursive writing is no longer taught. You're teaching kids common core crap, that even their parents can't help them with. Here's an example: Dunkin Doughnut employee gets a list of things for purchase so it's easier for him to prepare. OOPS, sorry I can't read this. Was never taught how to read or write cursive. They had to track down a manager, who had to call corporate and get someone to read it to them. Are you kidding me? What has this world come to. I guess I'll do the work of a teacher and teach my daughter how do to it. I'd rather have my children learn this than art, or music.

    • Justin Pot
      September 21, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      It's a transition, but once the people who still use cursive die out the issue will be irrelevant. Extending things artificially is only delaying the inevitable.

      As for cutting art and music: I cannot disagree more. Seriously. But if you're going to spend time teaching your daughter a worthless skill, might I recommend a pre-Palmer-Method script? That way at least it'll look nice.

    • Dawson Newman
      November 9, 2015 at 2:14 am

      Die out? Dude, I'm 14 and can't imagine writing without cursive. That plan will take a while. There will always be people who choose to write in the style of their fathers and teach themselves it. People don't write that much in cursive, but they should be able to read it.

    • Dawson Newman
      November 9, 2015 at 2:14 am

      Die out? Dude, I'm 14 and can't imagine writing without cursive. That plan will take a while. There will always be people who choose to write in the style of their fathers and teach themselves it. People don't write that much in cursive, but they should be able to read it.

    • Brett
      January 28, 2016 at 1:26 pm

      Die out?

      You know, just because (as you stated yourself) you hated and sucked at cursive, doesn't mean that there is no benefit to it whatsoever. It has become a rather typical behaviour of some people now a days to assume that the little voice that is having a tantrum in their head over things is a valid, intelligent point of view. Do people type today? Sure, should kids be taught how to type? Yes (and BTW, I was taught typing in 7th grade in 1990 and can type over 120 words a second on my keyboard) but just because *you* failed at it and there us a place called the Internet for you to share your internal tantrum about how much you hated it, does not mean it is worthless no matter how much you want it to. It wasn't your thing, okay. But it should turn into some kind of elective art class? That's childish.

      Now you start talking about people "dying off" and you become offensively obtuse.

      I'm sorry you don't have the hand-eye coordination, patience and visual acuity to write cursive. Maybe that's something you could work on in your spare time?

      I am a senior operator of the hydro electric grid in my state and I have apprentices that I train. I have a couple of them who do not know how to write cursive, they print everything, some of them quite badly. Let me tell you that those apprentices cannot keep up with the others who do write cursive. I am going to have to let one of them go after their review next month because he is falling too far behind, he misses important points during lectures when he is taking notes, he has tried to use a recorder, but then it doubles his work transferring them to written for to study. I feel embarrassed for him (and the others who only print) when I mark their exams and see shaky print on a two page essay question. They sign their names with print.... When you graduate and operate the grid, copious amounts of notes in real time are needed as events occur, and actions are to be taken. The printers are ALWAYS behind in this aspect. One of them even made a critical error due to his motes missing information because he couldn't go fast enough. But the others are universally slower.

      These print only guys are not going to succeed in this business.... And this is electrical grid operations, about as technical as it gets.

      Cursive allows you to speed up your writing immensely. If you couple that with strong spelling skills and sound grasp on the written language and grammar, you can actually go faster than all but the fastest typists.

      I can type 120 words a minute, but I use my cursive on a daily basis.

      You're setting people up for failure because *you* failed and, if you'll excuse me, had a tantrum over it and now you seem to feel as though your tantrum should become public policy. Well, why would we take public policy arguments about the value of cursive from someone who hates and failed at it?

      Anyway, you passed me off with the die out comment, that made you look more like a turd than you had earlier.

    • Brett
      January 28, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      I meant 120 words a minute, although usually it's around 118

    • Justin Pot
      January 28, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by the site and leave a comment!

    • Sonja
      August 18, 2016 at 3:09 am

      Cursive die out?

      Not for the non-monolingual, i.e., the non-North Americans!

    • Michael
      February 17, 2016 at 5:08 pm

      a legal document doesn't need to be signed in cursive. In fact, must cursive signatures I see are illegible.

  33. Kirk Dickerson
    August 19, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    I have yet to have one student or parent come back and explain how they were unprepared for college or the workplace because they were not taught cursive. The school I am principal of has not taught the arcane practice for nearly 20 years.

    Also while we are on legal signatures... None of them are in true cursive. Sometimes I draw a dinosaur on credit card receipts. No one has even said a word about it. My brothers drivers license signature is a smiley face.

    • Justin Pot
      September 21, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      College is the precise time in my life that I stopped using cursive, mostly because it was no longer arbitrarily required. I'm sure I'm not alone in this.

    • Brett
      January 28, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      Are you serious? A Smokey face on a DL? And as a principal, you have no problem with that?! A dinosaur?

      Well, as a professional out on the real world, let me tell you that you're failing your students. I work with the lot that this generation of administrators and teachers are putting out into the market, and let me tell you, from the real world, to your office - YOU ARE FAILING YOUR STUDENTS.

  34. Melissa Hawkins
    August 17, 2015 at 3:40 am

    I agree that in some areas cursive handwriting is not used at all. I'm a college student getting my degree in Communication Design and writing is a big part of this degree yes i can get the text offline, but none of my teachers allow this for the simple fact that in order to know this job in and out you must be able to write free handed with no aid from the computer. Makes since because there will be times i will have to complete a project free hand and that is just common knowledge. you cant rely on your computer there are such things as power outages. Yea you might say that is few and far between, but if i don't know how when it does happen I would be screwed. SO i'm grateful I learned cursive in school

  35. Mike Reilly
    July 9, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    How totally insulting to our nation's historical documents. Who is going to read these ORIGINAL documents to the "ignorant" two to three generations from now. The deciders of this must have been true haters of the USA. Shameful.

    • Justin Pot
      July 9, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      I seriously do not understand all the people hung up on reading historical documents. You can learn to read cursive relatively quickly, without learning to write it, and the documents in question aren't even written in the Palmer Method taught in schools today – that method came over 100 years after the documents were written. But on top of everything else, printed copies of all these documents are readily available.

      Which isn't even to mention the fact that language evolves, and at some point these documents will be completely unreadable by modern speakers. Already most people don't know what "quartering" means, or at least wouldn't if it wasn't in the constitution.

      Times change, historical documents become increasingly arcane. There's nothing you can do to prevent that. Ask any high school kid trying to understand Shakespear.

    • Ann Jeffries
      September 17, 2015 at 6:46 pm

      "But on top of everything else, printed copies of all these documents are readily available." You haven't spent any time on Ancestry.com, have you, Justin? "All these documents" is an incorrect generalization. Ships manifests, wills and trusts, journals, all of THESE documents are in cursive.

      Let's stop teaching cursive. No one uses it. While we're at it, let's stop teaching art in school too. I can't remember the last time I sat down to paint a picture. We can stop teaching everything we don't use on a daily basis.

      Your world sucks.

    • Justin Pot
      September 17, 2015 at 9:22 pm

      I am all for students learning some cursive script in art class, preferably something pre-Palmer Method. Spencer script maybe? Something that actually looks nice. But I'm against teaching the ugly Palmer method, which was designed for efficiency, and pretending that it's practical. It isn't, and shouldn't be taught as such. Let's learn something actually beautiful, and think of it as art, instead of pretending it's practical.

      And I really think it's a weird idea that you need to learn to write cursive in order to read it. The letters are basically there, you'll learn to make it out in time.

    • Karen Gaur
      September 22, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      Palmer Method? If you saw my handwriting you would think quite differently.

    • Brett
      January 28, 2016 at 1:36 pm

      You must not have much exposure to the real world, then.

      What happens if you have to write something in a hurry? Notes that people are going to see and refer to?

      Are you really this isolated in your life? You never have to write something down? Or have to do it quickly?

      I'm shocked, what kind of life are you living?

    • Michael
      February 17, 2016 at 5:15 pm

      You trying to use the slippery slope argument sucks, not the world. As Justin keeps mentioning, the cursive in historical documents is NOT WHAT IS TAUGHT in schools. Also, Cursive and calligraphy can, and in some cases are already taught as art classes.

    • Luna
      December 6, 2015 at 12:47 am

      I agree, reading cursive is easier than writing it, and it's not completely necessary for /everyone/ to read historical documents, but I think that cursive allows freedom of expression and an ability to show beauty in the physical aspect of writing.
      If you're talking about the rather morbid version of quartering I assume that it's pretty obvious if you know that quarter means four. If they don't know this they've never done Maths, nor have they ever studied Latin, yet another thing that the education system has labelled as 'obsolete'.
      P.S. The reason so many people don't understand Shakespeare is because they read it. They're plays, not books.

  36. TheManFromTaco
    July 9, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Who cares about direct relevance in daily work life? What a pointless argument. You could say the exact same thing about algebra and calculus!

    How about learning for the pure intellectual joy of learning?

    Should schools also stop offering art and music classes because the overwhelming majority of students will never ever directly use those skills in their professional careers?

    And for what it's worth, plenty of people still use cursive, for checks, legal documents, taking notes, etc., etc., etc.

    • Justin Pot
      July 9, 2015 at 5:54 pm

      Again: I'm all for calligraphy being taught in art classes, as an aesthetically pleasing form of writing. Let's just stop pretending cursive is a useful skill, because it isn't. It's less beautiful than calligraphy, harder to read than printing, and slower than typing. It fails on all levels.

  37. Christian Vidauri
    June 25, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    At this point, the world is going away from using cursive. I am currently in high school and the only time knowing cursive very well came in handy was writing an agreement for a test that I forgot the name for. Other than that, typing was more valuable. Today, there is not a need for cursive as much as before. So, typing should be a focus. How to use word, excel, and powerpoint. Because if you do not know how to use it... well good luck.

  38. Elizabeth G. Cantrell
    June 20, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    I'm kind of divided on the whole cursive thing. While it may be a seldom-used skill, I wouldn't call it "useless" or "obsolete". Yes, I put notes and memos and such in my iPhone, but if it isn't handy, or the timing is bad to use it, or if the situation calls for it, I can print and write in cursive--very nicely, too. I work in a laboratory, where there is a lot of documentation in the form of one's initials or full signature. Samples come into our lab, and the couriers require the individual receiving them to both print and sign their names for the samples (obviously, the "print name" line is in case the signature is illegible in any way). Also, consider legal documents (wills, etc), loan applications, photo IDs...I've not come upon any that don't require one's signature. Maybe teaching all-out cursive is a waste, but what about just teaching kids to sign their legal names in cursive...for, you know, just certain instances where an actual signature is required? I'm being facetious at this point, but if cursive writing is deemed a waste since all we have to do is type in and store everything using our devices, will we one day simply stop teaching kids how write at all?

  39. Frank Giron
    June 15, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    I use cursive to sign my name and write notes. Didn't know it was no longer taught in some schools.

    • Karen Gaur
      September 22, 2015 at 10:04 pm

      Me too! It's just an excuse to dumb down our kids. I think God for our school and that they taught my children to learn it. If they stop I will encourage all kids to write their poetry in cursive, letters, notes, grocery lists, everything.

  40. John-Christopher Ward
    June 14, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    I print my name as my legal signature and it has never been an issue.

    • Justin Pot
      June 16, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      A lot of people don't seem to realize this is an option.

  41. Jeanette
    May 22, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Also if there is anyone out there that can share some old school cirriculum for teaching cursive writing. I am interested in teaching my grandchildren how to cursive write and want to be able to go back to when they used the workbooks with the print lines, etc.

  42. Jeanette
    May 22, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    ALL people should be taught how to write cursive..........how else do you have a legal signature?? I have worked in a number of government offices that production of identification (health cards, driver's license, any legal document, etc.) you need a legal signature. An "X" marking the spot isn't a legal signature unless your name is X. I become very sad when a teenager comes in and is so excited that he gets his own identification; and then looks at you blankly when you ask them to "write" their name. Some print their name and usually very poorly. It should give people pride of themselves when they write their name and see if for themselves, of themselves. I enjoy nothing more than receiving a beautiful card that was picked out by someone for me and they are able to say things to me, about me and then tell me who it's from. It not only makes me smile but it makes them smile.

  43. R.G.H
    May 15, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Cutting Cursive is a Crime
    by a student at Lake Center Christian School
    May 3, 2015

    The year is 2125. A group of students are ushered into a gymnasium to have the Constitution of the United States of America read to them. “A long time ago, our forefathers made these rules that we, as citizens of the United States, are required to follow: anyone who negatively speaks, writes, or challenges the government in any way will be put to death. No one can practice any type of religion. Everyone is required to join the military for an eight-year term because military strength is and forever will be of utmost importance. Every person is only allowed to have one child. No one is created equal. And…”. Everyone is brainwashed into following every rule in the “Constitution.” No one knows or has any individual rights. Why? They can’t read the actual Constitution of the United States of America because it was written in cursive writing, something that no one in this time period was ever taught to read.
    Cursive is a style of writing in which all the letters are connected. Cursive first began its decline in the 1940s and 1950s and now is still being taught less often in schools. A 2010 report by the Miami-Dade public school system concluded that cursive instruction had been diminishing across the country since the 1970s (Shapiro). Forty-five states and the District of Columbia use the Common Core’s English-- Language Arts standards. The Common Core’s educational program mandates learning keyboard technology instruction, but it does not mandate learning how to write cursive. A few states (California, Idaho, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee among them) have recently moved to make cursive writing mandatory. North Carolina passed a “Back to Basics” law last year that mandated cursive (and also multiplication tables) be taught (Brown). “The Common Core State Standards allow communities and teachers to make decisions at the local level … so they can teach cursive if they think it’s what their students need,” said Kate Dando, a spokeswoman for the Council of Chief State School Officers, which promotes Common Core (qtd in Borges).

    “One of the bank managers recently I spoke with said there is an appalling number of high school students transitioning to college (and) they come in to open a bank account and they don’t have a signature,” said Marilyn Zecher, a former teacher and certified academic language therapist who uses cursive to help students dealing with learning difficulties, including dyslexia. “That’s a problem” (qtd in Brown).

    Many teachers believe that typing and technology will be the future of the world. So when they’re allowed to choose between teaching cursive or not bothering, a lot of teachers and schools have chosen the latter. I agree that knowing how to type and how to use a computer is important, but cursive writing is also an important tool that still will be needed in the future. Since teachers have been given the choice whether or not to teach cursive, a lot have chosen to deprive their students of this important part of their education.

    “Learning cursive promotes brain development,” says William Klemm, Professor of Neuroscience at Texas A&M University. “Learning to write cursive requires attentiveness and conscious control over fine hand and finger movements. An important need in the cognitive development of children is to develop their ability to focus, self-awareness of what they are doing and how they are doing it, making their muscles do what they want them to do, and responding to the feedback from knowing what improvements in control are needed and then making those adjustments" (qtd in Wisco ).

    Cursive helps its users in many areas of their lives. Handwriting can change how children learn and how their brains develop. Indiana University researchers used neuroimaging scans to measure brain activity in preliterate preschool children who were shown letters. One group of children then practiced seeing and saying the letters (Deardorff). “After four weeks of training, the kids who practiced writing showed brain activation similar to an adult’s,” said James, the study’s lead researcher. The printing practice also improved letter recognition, which is the number one predictor of reading ability at age five (Deardoff).

    Klemm later goes on to say, “Brain imaging studies reveal that multiple areas of the brain become co-activated during learning of cursive writing of pseudo-letters, as opposed to typing or just visual practice. There is a spillover benefit for thinking skills used in reading and writing. To write legible cursive, fine motor control is needed over the fingers. Students have to pay attention and think about what and how they are doing it. They have to practice. Brain imaging studies show that cursive activates areas of the brain that do not participate in keyboarding." (qtd in Schulzke).

    Using handwriting (like cursive) is also faster. Researchers who tested second, fourth, and sixth graders found that children compose essays more prolifically --and faster-- when using a pen rather than a keyboard. In addition, fourth and sixth graders wrote more complete sentences when they used a pen, according to the study led by Virginia Berninger, a University of Washington professor of educational psychology who studies normal writing development and writing disabilities. Her previous research has also shown that forming letters by hand may engage our thinking brains differently than pressing down on a key (Deardorff). Even though proven wrong, some teachers complain that teaching cursive to their students takes too long, and that it will take them longer to write.

    Handwriting also helps to aid memory. Instead of setting reminders and alarms on your phone or iPad that could falter or malfunction, write yourself notes, lists, and reminders that will allow you to remember their contents, even if you lose it. “Handwriting aids memory. If you write yourself a list or a note — then lose it — you're much more likely to remember what you wrote than if you just tried to memorize it,” said occupational therapist Katya Feder, an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa School of Rehabilitation (qtd in Deardorff).

    Cursive should be taught in schools. Research shows that it helps to improve reading skills, to develop hand-eye coordination, and to help children’s brains to develop, just to name a few of the many proven benefits. Research proves that cursive even helps students with disabilities such as dyslexia. Cursive is a faster way of writing that also connects its users to the past. Cursive writing needs to be taught in order to prepare students for the future.
    If you had a choice to give your children, grandchildren, students, etc. a very important gift that they could and would use and thank you for in the future, would you give it to them? Cursive is that gift. If we want our children and other upcoming generations of the United States to be prepared for their future by understanding their past and the history from which they came, we need to protest against this educational crime that forever will change their ability to do so.

    Works Cited:
    Steinmetz, Katy. “Five Reasons Kids Should Still Learn Cursive Writing.” TIME. June 4, 2014. Web

    Brown, April. “Is cursive handwriting slowly dying out in America?”. PBS NEWSHOUR. April 24, 2014. Web

    Vocabulary.com. Web

    Wisco, Albert. “Do Kids Need to Learn Cursive Writing?”. TVOPARENTS. January 28, 2014. Web

    Borges, Neyda. “Why The Debate Over Cursive Is More Than Penmanship.” STATEIMPACT. February 19, 2014. Web

    “Why do Schools still Teach Cursive Writing?” 5K Learning Blog. Web

    “Should School Kids Still Learn Cursive Writing?” Los Angeles Daily News. November 22, 2013. Web.

    “5 Reasons Cursive Writing Should be Taught in Schools.” Concordia Online Education. February 25, 2015. Web

    Shapiro, Rees T. “Survey shows cursive, on the decline, is taught in many classrooms nationwide.” THE WASHINGTON POST. May 7, 2013. Web

    Gladstone, Kate. “Handwriting Matters; Cursive Doesn’t.” NEW YORK TIMES. April 30, 2013. Web

    Schulzke, Eric. “You’d think cursive doesn’t matter anymore, but it does.” DESERET NEWS NATIONAL. June 5, 2014. Web

    Polikoff, Morgan. “Let Cursive Handwriting Die.” NEW YORK TIMES. May 1, 2013. Web.

    Martin, Catherine.“Cursive not forgotten.” COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE. May 28, 2011. Web

    Deardorff, Julie. “The many health perks of good handwriting.” LA TIMES. June 15, 2011. Web

    Klemm, William. “Biological and Psychology Benefits of Learning Cursive.” PSYCHOLOGY TODAY. August 5,2013. Web.

    Plummer, Sarah. “College professors, professionals say cursive important for learning, literacy.” THE REGISTER-HERALD. July 29,2014. Web

    McGuire, Caitlyn. “Cursive still used in working world: S.C. professionals speak out in support of education bill.” CAROLINA REPORTER AND NEWS. April 7, 2014. Web

  44. Lj
    May 9, 2015 at 12:37 am

    Catholic schools, the best private-schools and most home-schoolers all teach cursive. They know what you don't: That cursive is a tool to weed out sloppy thinkers and the kind of ill-bred trash nobody wants representing their companies. You will not move up in most corporations if you do not know how to write a good cursive script. Corporations expect their executives to write hand-written notes all the time, in cursive, or they will make the company look like idiotic, barbaric yahoos.

    • Justin Pot
      May 10, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      Maybe it's because I'm mostly familiar with tech companies, but this hasn't been my experience at all. At this point using paper is seen by many as a sign of sloppy thinking, or at the very least an inability to adapt.

  45. Nicole
    May 4, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    :-)

  46. Nicole
    April 30, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    I take handwritten notes every day. I also use a computer every day.
    These are not mutually exclusive activities. They are both effective forms of communication and require many of the same skillsets.
    I find it highly distracting when, during a meeting or conference call, you hear the endless clacking of keys in the background.
    Pen on paper is relatively noiseless, even when six people are doing it. And, I can also maintain eye contact while writing; I can’t say the same for using a keyboard. (I’m a lousy typist; always have been. I’m not likely to improve much at this stage.)

    So, by your way of thinking, we shouldn’t learn to tell time either. Why bother? Look at the digital readout! Appreciate your point of view just don't agree with it.

    • Justin Pot
      April 30, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      I can maintain eye contact while typing, and can't say the same for using a pen. So maybe we just can't see eye to eye on this because we see the skills in fundamentally different lights.

  47. Cyndi
    April 26, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    I am a retired public educator. My last position was in the field of Language Arts under which the idea of handwriting and penmanship fall. I agree with you. Cursive writing is oft times used to penalize students who do not have the best fine motor skills. Points are taken from the few papers students must write "in cursive" because of poor penmanship. Thus, a paper with less information and/or less accurate information can improve their score just by having good fine motor skills. Conversely, a student who has accurate and more information can get a lower score if the paper is "written in cursive."

    Cursive is an art form. Students should learn the basics of cursive in kindergarten or first grade (look at the research on cursive being taught before or in place of print) including how to write a signature. However, there should be no ongoing practice as it wastes time and no attention to whether or not letters are formed "just so" as I was taught back in the early 1960's. Students who wish to pursue exact cursive writing could have an option, but otherwise there is more to learn than how to join together letters to form a word.

    I agree with you. If the grid goes down, we will have much more with which to contend than cursive signatures.

    • Justin Pot
      April 27, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      It's amazing to me how many different points of view are (still!) coming in on this issue, there's certainly a lot of ways to look at it. But not many educators have come in here defending cursive: it's mostly parents. I think that says something.

  48. Jordan
    April 26, 2015 at 6:16 am

    I've been writing in cursive since 5th grade and I've found it has a lot of practical uses. For starters, it doesn't look like I had a bout of Parkinson's and put my hand on a piece of paper. Since I've been writing in it for so long, I don't have to remember how to write a word since it's based entirely on muscle memory at this point and it's also faster than writing in print and I can write an actual signature. With cursive and calligraphy being closely related, you could even call it an art.

    It has its merits over standard writing, but I don't know where to value it in public schooling. I self-taught myself how to write in cursive since it's the standard in my family and wasn't interested in it at the time I learned it in school. I think it's an important thing to learn, although programming would be a good skill to learn as well.

    • Justin Pot
      April 27, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      Thanks for a balanced point of view, Jordan. It's really complicated, and I'm learning a lot from the comments.

  49. auto
    April 23, 2015 at 8:17 am

    Cursive was originally based off of Arabic letters and how they connected. It took off because quills were too fragile to withstand the constant blows against the paper; cursive connects the letters of a word and helps address this problem. With the advent of the ballpoint pen, it really had no further purpose.

    While I think coding may be a stretch to make standard, I too believe that cursive is just a relic that has no place in the future. You want to show off penmanship? Learn Arabic, Hebrew, or Aramaic. Otherwise it's just a circus trick, not a serious, need-to-know skill.

    Most signatures today are just scribbles (not like checks are going to be around for too much longer) and ironically hand-eye coordination can be taught even better by video games (just as much of a waste of time). Most arguments for the preservation of cursive center around nostalgia and a fear of technological progress, both of which are poorly based in actual facts.

    When something becomes obsolete, it gets replaced. It makes no sense to keep around something that's been outdated even before the advent of computers and pretend like it actually still has merit, because it doesn't. It's just an overwhelming feeling of opinion-based nostalgia for something that some are unwilling to let go of. Times change and move forward, nothing ever remains in a steady-state for long. You have to keep going forward to remain competitive in the 21st Century world. Cursive has no real competitive value in today's world, with businesses already looking at ways to completely replace it.

    • Justin Pot
      April 23, 2015 at 5:19 pm

      "It’s just an overwhelming feeling of opinion-based nostalgia for something that some are unwilling to let go of."

      This. Exactly this.

  50. Lucy Martinez
    April 21, 2015 at 6:40 am

    When you said,

    "There’s only so many hours in a day, so it’s important education systems prioritize. Every hour spent learning an obsolete skill like cursive is time they’re not learning the programming skills needed for great jobs, or other essential life-skills like managing your money."

    Learning how to manage my money, in the second grade?? Plot twist.. They don't even teach us that in high school! They think eliminating certain "useless" skills will improve our education system. So they focus on improving our "standardize test scores" what is that crap?! Anyway. I am an 18 year old who is extremely proud, that I am apart of one of the last years to have learned this special writing skill.

    • Justin Pot
      April 21, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      "They don't even teach us that in high school!"

      And they really, really should.

  51. Bryan W.
    April 20, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Perhaps to me the most poignant aspect of this conversation is the Author's use of 58,008 on the calculator. I'm interested that after so many comments, I appear to be the first to notice (am I?). It demonstrates the separation between the millennials and Gen X and apparent focus on priorities. But have you considered, Justin, the tragedy that kids today aren't learning the important skills of communicating in pocket-calculator font? Clearly Gen X missed this crucial experience of elementary school. Is our knowledge already lost?

    That being said, I anticipate cursive will go the way of latin and don't anticipate my children being taught it. I hope to teach my children it regardless, because the creativity learned through cursive writing could be beneficial. Art in any form helps us in how we apply mathematics and programming concepts. The beautiful designs of the fonts we now enjoy come from Steve Jobs' calligraphy class. Multi-dimensional learning will enhance our use of programming and design. Why not create art with your handwriting if you have the chance?

    • Justin Pot
      April 20, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      So I actually didn't make that image (I don't personally own a smartphone) but one of my super mature co-workers took the photo for me. So far as I know you're the first to notice, including me. Calculator speech will be sorely missed, but I'm sure kids today have their own little in-jokes.

      Cursive as an art is over-rated, I'd suggest teaching your kids calligraphy instead. Far more beautiful, and takes far more discipline.

  52. Tonette123
    April 19, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    A signature is required on ALL legal documents - Will, deed, trust, driver license, transfer of stock, state ID, passport, bank documents, birth certificates, medical papers, etc. In fact, most require you to write your name in block letters AND sign with a signature. Electronics have not removed these requirements. We have done a grave disservice to our children.

    • Justin Pot
      April 19, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      The idea of the signature will evolve, I promise. And when's the last time you've seen a signature that even vaguely resembles cursive writing? The vast majority are mostly just scribbles.

  53. Jeanne
    April 16, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    I think cursive is a very important thing in life. Schools still need to teach it because it teaches hand eye coordination

  54. Jamie
    March 31, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    I write in cursive everyday. There are documents that require a natural signature and cannot be digitally done. So to not have any lessons on handwriting is absurd; please sign here....oh sorry I have no idea how to sign my name but I can print it. Smh. I respect your opinion in the article but I respectfully disagree with you.

    • Justin Pot
      April 1, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      The signature thing people keep bringing up is just insane to me, because if you look at 10 people's random signatures you'll probably see 8 signatures that don't resemble cursive letters in the slightest. They're just a bunch of scribble. It would honestly be more secure if everyone switched over to printing, and that switch will probably happen in the next 50 years or so for that reason (assuming we keep signing things at all, which I'm not sure of).

  55. John
    March 19, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Oh, I forgot to add that spelling is no longer taught in grade schools. Teachers are telling students that misspelled words can be easily corrected by spell-check. What a great new world we live in when reading and writing are no longer required for success!

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2015 at 3:22 pm

      I did not know this, and if true this is troubling. Spell check will only get you so far.

    • Tonette123
      April 19, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      That explains the awful spelling I see on Facebook.

  56. John
    March 19, 2015 at 11:34 am

    I took my 15 year old son to the DMV the other day to get his learner's permit; it took him several minutes to try to make some sort of signature on his license. My grandfather left behind his war diary from the Pacific (WW2). It's in beautiful cursive and none of my kids can read it. If I was a conspiracy theorist I would say the removal of handwriting being taught in schools only ensures future Americans will have no idea what our US Constitution really says. In public school my kids lessons have strayed far away from reading, writing, and arithmetic; instead my children are taught left-wing political activism. You're right though author, who needs cursive when you can spend more valuable time learning about how cow farts are destroying the environment.

    • Justin Pot
      March 19, 2015 at 3:20 pm

      Did you know: there are non-cursive versions of the US constitution available just about everywhere? I'm Canadian and I've gone one within arms reach, right now.

      But your one-to-one comparison of cow farts and cursive handwriting is completely legitimate. Great logic.

  57. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    March 3, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Pardon me if the bulk of my comment doesn't really touch on cursive, but I'm very interested in the subject of handwriting in America. Is it really that obsolete? Here in Indonesia I still take dozen pages of notes everyday, and our exams and quizzes are given on paper. Some homeworks and assignments can be turned in online, but this mostly applies only if it's report-based (like essays, researches) or data-related (graphics, visualizations, modeling). I even have a professor who mandates essays be strictly handwritten on the basis that 'it hinders one from copying the others, or at least make it more troublesome'. Gadgets are prohibited in most classes, unless your major is something along the line of CompSci (but you still have paper-based exams and quizzes). One professor even called me out for using my laptop in class. We use computer aplenty though, and lectures are delivered via slides, videos, and any other digital means, but we also have an oft-used blackboards (though this one might have to do with my chosen major). Even the attendance record is signed manually no matter what major you're in. Handwriting certainly isn't going anywhere. I go through about half dozen pens per month, but I also write for fun so the average should be 2-4.

    I'm a computer person and would be hard-pressed to leave my laptop, but handwriting is a joy to me. Even though I will type everything later, I still lug around a notebook or two everywhere. Idea just seems to flow better as the pen glides through pages.

    Now finally addressing the cursive, I must say it's sadly a lost art. Never in my life I've seen forms requiring cursive. It's always 'To be filled in capital block letters'. Interestingly, most people I know, including me, have handwriting somewhere between print and cursive. We naturally link letters together in a hurry, don't we?

    If handwriting really is disappearing over there, then there's merit to keep this one subject at school. Otherwise, it might be better to replace it with something else.

  58. test
    March 3, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    ignore this. i'm checking my connection.

  59. Manuel Rodrigues
    March 3, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Next time you meet a woman, please use the keyboard, … may be you can understand the question.

  60. Barb R
    March 1, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Fair comment, Justin. My sig has evolved over the years as well and has always looked like chicken scratch. I once had a mortgage lender ask me to redo my signature on docs because it was illegible. My SIGNATURE was illegible. I told the lender that I would be happy to rewrite my name legibly, but that it wouldn't be my signature, so what would she prefer? She "let me" use my real signature.

    Of course we know she never would have asked a male to write his signature legibly.

    • Justin Pot
      March 2, 2015 at 4:55 pm

      I've been asked to re-do signatures from time to time, and said much the same thing as you. I really think we need to replace the signature as a means of confirming transactions for this and other reasons. Particularly because many vendors now have touch screens to sign, and my signature on those looks nothing like my other signatures.

  61. Barb R
    February 28, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    I can't believe that you "never" use cursive. Don't you ever sign your name? What is your signature - block letters?

    • Justin Pot
      February 28, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      I have a signature, and it may have resembled cursive at some point, but at this point it's a scribble at best. I've seen enough other signatures to know I'm not alone in this.

  62. Victor
    February 28, 2015 at 7:08 am

    I agree that no one uses cursive anymore. It's sad, but true. Even the way kids are taught cursive is tedious and outdated. I still think cursive should be taught, but not in school. But there's just something about cursive that feels more personal and cultured than the cold test written on a screen.

  63. Vera A. Hernandez
    February 24, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    I learned cursive handwriting back in the day, and to this day I still use it. My daughter had been taught cursive handwriting too when she was younger. Taking cursive writing out of the schools is not something that should be done. Yes, technology is being taught, but it should not be hailed as the greatest thing there it. I come from a time where there was no identity theft, and you did not have to worry about all your private information being out there on cyberspace.
    To those who feel that handwriting is a waste of time, it is not. I have a signature and it mine.
    No one else can copy it. What is so wrong with knowing how to write your own name??
    For me, it is an accomplishment, and one that I am most proud of . I learned how to type on a regular typewriter back in the day also. I have computer as well, and I do have to use it at work. However, I do have my handwriting skills and will use them at times. Also, when someone gives me a card, or even a letter, knowing it was handwritten by that individual speaks to me in terms of being sentimental. That might not seem like much to some people, but to me, it is something I will hold on to for remembrance. A handwritten note or letter from someone is beautiful to me, and that special touch will always mean so much.

    To print your name is okay, but to know how to WRITE it makes it more genuine and
    meaningful. You can do many things on a computer too, but when it is handwritten, it shows character and a very personal touch!

  64. Steve K.
    February 20, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    A couple of points: for good or bad there are a huge number of checks written everyday using cursive. Would you hire a cashier or someone to work in a financial institution that wasn't comfortable reading and writing cursive? I wouldn't. Some people are saying that we cursive is obsolete so we shouldn't teach it. With voice recognition software improving all the time are you going to say that teaching keyboarding skills is of no value since it may be obsolete by the time these kids graduate? It is the same argument. Then there is the intangible value of cursive writing. Many children still see it as "grown up" writing and feel very proud when they can write it. It is hard to place a value on a sense of accomplishment but I'd hate to take that away from any child.

    • Justin Pot
      February 21, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      Checks themselves are on the way out, so maybe that shouldn't be the cornerstone of your argument. Additionally, the vast majority of cursive signatures I've seen are completely illegible regardless of whether you know cursive or not. And I had no idea any stores anywhere still took personal checks – that's kind of amazing to me.

      If voice to speech technology gets better, we should perhaps consider not teaching typing anymore. But I don't think it will replace typing, personally: we have the ability to call each other on the phone right now, but many people prefer texting. Knowing this, I have a hard time believing people will want to talk to their computers instead of typing – but I could be wrong. If I am wrong, of course we should stop teaching typing. That's a no brainer.

      And as for the intangibles: calligraphy. Teach it in art class, and the kids will feel even more accomplished because it looks way better than cursive. Just don't pretend it's a practical skill, because it isn't.

    • Victor
      February 28, 2015 at 7:13 am

      Well, texting has advantages over phone communication, namely, that its asynchronous, meaning that people aren't tied down to talking for a period of time.

      As for calligraphy, I'm thinking that there's still some culture that's preserved with it, typing is just... different.

  65. bil
    February 19, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    I wouldn't say it's not a good tool, but the question remains whether it should be required for all students. I'm not sure it should.

    R. Martin, my freshman roommate prints his signature, hasn't had the problems you describe.

    I'm also reminded of this:

    "At the Egyptian city of Naucratis, there was a famous old god, whose name was Theuth; the bird which is called the Ibis is sacred to him, and he was the inventor of many arts, such as arithmetic and calculation and geometry and astronomy and draughts and dice, but his great discovery was the use of letters. Now in those days the god Thamus was the king of the whole country of Egypt; and he dwelt in that great city of Upper Egypt which the Hellenes call Egyptian Thebes, and the god himself is called by them Ammon. To him came Theuth and showed his inventions, desiring that the other Egyptians might be allowed to have the benefit of them; he enumerated them, and Thamus enquired about their several uses, and praised some of them and censured others, as he approved or disapproved of them. It would take a long time to repeat all that Thamus said to Theuth in praise or blame of the various arts. But when they came to letters, This, said Theuth, will make the Egyptians wiser and give them better memories; it is a specific both for the memory and for the wit. Thamus replied: O most ingenious Theuth, the parent or inventor of an art is not always the best judge of the utility or inutility of his own inventions to the users of them. And in this instance, you who are the father of letters, from a paternal love of your own children have been led to attribute to them a quality which they cannot have; for this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality."

  66. Stephanie Wick
    February 19, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    This is wordy- I apologize in advance!
    First, my work history: I have been a pediatric occupational therapist for almost 20 years and work with mainstreamed children who are typically developing. 80-90% of my clients are boys. 90% of referrals are for handwriting concerns by teacher and/or parent. Usually the OT intervention occurs in the kindergarten year, but about 25% of it comes when the student is at least in 4th grade and is having trouble with written expression and handwriting. When I ask the student (again, usually a boy) about their handwriting they often tell me, "its awful and I just hate handwriting". Most likely someone has told them that their handwriting is poor. Most likely, they were never properly taught handwriting.

    Written expression issues I often see is what you may have heard as "I can't think of what to write" problem. A bright kid can verbalize what should be on that essay all day long but when he/she sits down to write the product looks more of what a student 2-3 years younger is capable of. A student gets anxious and that anxiety builds until even a paragraph will bring angst.

    When that 4th grade boy/girl comes to me and his written expression is not good and his handwriting is illegible, I always teach him/her cursive. Rather than harp on ingrained habits of manuscript, it is often refreshing to learn cursive (again, a tool). It immediately allows us to slow down the pace since they are learning cursive, and that results in some relaxation and less anxiety. As they master and use cursive, the speed of cursive production will also increase. As the student gets older, they will ultimately decide if they want to write in manuscript, cursive, or a combination of both. But, its a choice based on their neurological make up in what tool they use to provide the best outcome.

    Learning cursive is simply another tool that a child has to master the skill of writing. A student may be fine academically without ever learning or cursive. Boys go into kindergarten with usually far less developed fine motor skills than a girl. Girls often has less gross motor development at that age when compared to fine motor. Teachers are not taught in school how to teach handwriting, so children are not always truly " taught" how to write. Girl's handwriting (print) in lower school is typically far superior to boys (back to the f/m development). Boys get frustrated because they see their papers marked up for "bad" handwriting. Many just stop trying. Unfortunately, if a student's writing is not legible, then all their grades suffer. If cursive is taught, then it is typically in the 2nd or 3rd grade year. Those students that struggled with fine motor development as a 6 year old will now be more successful in that regard plus everyone in class is on a level playing field again with learning a new skill.

    Again, cursive is a tool. I find that cursive is an especially good tool for boys. If you take cursive out of the toolbox then we are reduced to keyboarding only. Kids should also learn proper keyboarding at some point, but not until their hands are large enough to efficiently reach across the keyboard...that's not until at least early middle school. Having typically developing children rely just on keyboarding is setting them up for repetitive stress injury at early ages , an inappropriate demand for speed, and eye issues associated at looking at a screen for long periods of time.

    So, yes, I am in favor of keeping cursive, its a great tool.

  67. R. Martin
    February 18, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    If a person is not taught cursive, here are a few things that would not be possible:
    1. Sign their name on legal documents (those who can not sign in cursive are required to "make their mark" in front of a witness
    2. Read historical documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights to name a few
    3. Read old letters of their parents, grandparents, etc.
    4. Sign a check
    5. Receive a registered letter from the Post Office (requires printed and signed name)

    Also:
    1. Printed documents and "signatures" are easier to forge
    2. Cursive and printing stimulate different parts of the brain and reinforces learning
    3. Cursive helps children develop fine motor skills

    Not teaching cursive is "dumbing down" the English language.

  68. bil
    February 18, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    No, I don't. But I've considered it given that I can't write fast enough to effectively take notes. And coding is a wonderful skill to have, I don't think people who don't code or don't work with people who do realize quite how useful a skill it is. I'm astounded at how strongly people feel about retaining cursive, and I appreciate some of the points, but we can't continue to teach all of the old stuff while adding new stuff....

    • Justin Pot
      February 18, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      I'm very surprised by how vocal the pushback to this article has been. I guess we know why politicians keep re-adding cursive to curriculums, eh?

  69. bil
    February 18, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Justin, nice article, obviously spurs discussion. If I want someone to be able to be able to read my writing, including myself, I have to print. And I can't write more than a page or two before my hand cramps since I do that so seldom.

    This discussion reminds me of when my comp lit program gave up on the Latin requirement. Change is inevitable and we should maintain the ability to make use of older resources without sacrificing the ability to move forward.

    If speed of writing is an issue, my suggestion would be to replace cursive with shorthand. And you can teach someone to read cursive without teaching them to write it.

    • Justin Pot
      February 18, 2015 at 4:53 pm

      Great points, all of them: particularly about shorthand. Do you know if any school systems have looked into teaching it? Or if they have? Outside of j-schools, of course.

  70. dragonmouth
    February 18, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    My favorite subjects to be eliminated from the curriculum are music and art appreciation. In my geographical area (30-40 school districts) children in grades 3 to 8 must participate in either band or chorus. Of what practical use is that?!

    • Justin Pot
      February 18, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      It's way easier to find studies backing up the benefits of music than cursive writing, but I'm really not qualified to make those arguments.

    • dragonmouth
      February 18, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      "It’s way easier to find studies backing up the benefits of music than cursive writing"
      If you try real hard, it is possible to find a study backing any point of view.

      "I’m really not qualified to make those arguments. "
      That is a copout! You have no compunction about making the argument that cursive writing is obsolete and you cite putative studies backing up your contention but all of a sudden you decide "you're not really qualified to make those arguments"?

    • Justin Pot
      February 18, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      I will freely admit this is a copout. Fact is I'm paid to write articles, but not to debate you endlessly here. :)

  71. me
    February 18, 2015 at 8:40 am

    in the other news, english soon to be obsolete, everyone should use Chinese instead

    • Justin Pot
      February 18, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      English as we know it will someday disappear, yes. What we speak today would be unrecognizable to someone from Shakespeare's day, and the world is increasingly interconnected.

      But all I'm arguing is that a simplified form of calligraphy developed in the 1800's to be faster than proper script has no place in a world where most communication is typed.

  72. Tim
    February 18, 2015 at 2:15 am

    As a teacher and a parent, I am all in favor of coding and more project-based learning at all grade levels. This does not have to be a PICK ONE scenario: coding OR cursive. To favor one at the expensive of the other is to the detriment of the child; cursive writing--much like crawling at an earlier developmental age--encourages the kind of neural activity that leads to stronger thinking.

    Unfortunately, the pressure to practice for standardized tests prevents the kind of attention to just the kinds of think that employers are clamoring for. High school students struggle with multi-step, detailed projects because...well, because they have been fed in small, sequential doses, often without time or encouragement to reflect and connect.

    But thank you for challenging the status quo of education.

    • Justin Pot
      February 18, 2015 at 3:51 am

      Yeah, I wish I made the headline less of a one to one comparison, in retrospect. But I'm really happy with a lot of the quality conversation that's happening here in the comments, and I look forward to learning more about all of this.

  73. Bryan Clark
    February 18, 2015 at 1:13 am

    My son's school doesn't teach cursive (he's 12), and instead teaches front-end development. He knows how to use Bootstrap, or develop a simple web page in HTML and CSS from a mockup. He's learning Javascript this year.

    I went back and forth trying to decide whether I was "okay" with him not learning cursive, but ultimately with limited class time, I feel like the skills he's learning are far more valuable than being able to pen a book report in cursive. As an adult, I can say that I use cursive only when it's time to sign something, so maybe instead of the additional class time - and to appease some of the commenters here - we could teach kids to sign their name, but forego any additional cursive writing skill.

    • Justin Pot
      February 18, 2015 at 3:50 am

      That's a compromise most people could live with, I think. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  74. Cardi
    February 18, 2015 at 12:00 am

    Justin - i think you must be smoking POT.

    • Justin Pot
      February 18, 2015 at 3:49 am

      LITERALLY NO ONE HAS NOTICED THIS PUN BEFORE! WOW THAT'S AMAZING.

    • dragonmouth
      February 18, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      Maybe some of us have been taught not to make fun of people's names? Or maybe since your name appears in block letters, not cursive, some of us don't recognize the pun?

    • Justin Pot
      February 18, 2015 at 4:46 pm

      The second one must be the case, dragonmouth.

    • Lucy Martinez
      April 21, 2015 at 6:52 am

      You must be drunk off baCARDI.

      (Was that okay? Or embarrassing..?)

    • Justin Pot
      April 21, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      (It was fairly embarrassing, but I'll allow it).

  75. Jason
    February 17, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    Justin,
    Thank you for questioning the value of cursive writing and making some solid arguments and offering it up for discussion. Though I had similar thoughts when I learned how much time my daughter was spending on cursive writing in school and made similar points to her Montessori teacher, her responses and my subsequent research changed my mind.

    The benefits, backed by studies and teacher observation, show (keep in mind this is for teaching very young children cursive, before the 3rd grade):

    - Cursive is easier for young children to learn
    - It reinforces that words are a cohesive unit
    - Research indicates that cursive writing improves brain development in the areas of thinking, language and working memory. Montessori Schools posit that the challenge offered by the motor learning activities actually helps the brain learn how to get its various structures to work together more efficiently as it processes symbolic language. Cursive offers the kind of motor-learning activity that stimulates the brain to build pathways for better reading, writing and yes, later on, keyboarding.

    It is important to recognize that we are talking about essential, core skills: The formation and communication of thought.

    So, I agree that if we could come up with something with all the benefits of cursive writing AND was more commonly used in modern society it could be worth replacing. However, what would that be? Knowing this, you can see that your comparison to Mario Brothers is inadequate. It might offer some fine motor skills but nothing on the depth and or breadth cursive writing seems to convey.

    I would like to see conclusive proof of these findings, but based on the info we have now, cursive writing actually looks like a very efficient use of a young children’s educational time.

    • Justin Pot
      February 18, 2015 at 3:52 am

      You've given me a lot of think about here, and I really appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  76. dragonmouth
    February 17, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    "programming is just an example of a skill that we need to make more time for"
    The one skill that ALL kids could benefit from being taught more than any other is Personal Finance. How to set up a budget, how to balance a checkbook, etc. That skill is applicable every day of everybody's life. Kids graduating highschool are absolutely, totally ignorant of Personal Finances.

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 11:17 pm

      I was seriously considering making this one of the primary points of the article. Could not agree more. If you're bad at managing your money, it will negatively impact every other aspect of your life. So important, and so overlooked.

    • Pretty pen
      February 19, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      Yes, I agree dragonmouth, Personal Finance is a skill all kids should learn at a young age.

      I was disappointed when I heard that our schools were going to stop teaching cursive writing. I write in cursive every single day. I believe beautiful penmanship is a skill and I appreciate reading and writing cursive. I was never going to be an artist but I enjoyed learning about art. I was never going to be a musician but I loved to learn about music. Maybe it is nice to just be a child and be exposed to things you may never need because you may end up loving them and enjoying them. Who wants to learn about programming? Ugh, who is to say that will ever be something that every person needs to know how to do?

  77. Buffet
    February 17, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    RUBBISH!!
    There is a term for someone who can't write: Illiterate!~

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 10:44 pm

      People who can't write cursive are illiterate? Really?

  78. Kate Gladstone
    February 17, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Handwriting matters — but does cursive matter? The research is surprising. For instance, it has been documented that legible cursive writing averages no faster than printed handwriting of equal or greater legibility. (Sources for all research are listed below.)

    More recently, it has also been documented that cursive does NOT objectively improve the reading, spelling, or language of students who have dyslexia/dysgraphia.
    This is what I'd expect from my own experience, by the way. As a handwriting teacher and remediator, I see numerous children, teens, and adults — dyslexic and otherwise — for whom cursive poses even more difficulties than print-writing. (Contrary to myth, reversals in cursive are common — a frequent cursive reversal in my caseload, among dyslexics and others, is “J/f.”)
    ?
    ?— According to comparative studies of handwriting speed and legibility in different forms of writing, the fastest, clearest handwriters avoid cursive — although they are not absolute print-writers either. The highest speed and highest legibility in handwriting are attained by those who join only some letters, not all: joining only the most easily joined letter-combinations, leaving the rest unjoined, and using print-like shapes for letters whose printed and cursive shapes disagree.

    Reading cursive still matters — but reading cursive is much easier and quicker to master than writing the same way too. Reading cursive, simply reading it, can be taught in just 30 to 60 minutes — even to five- or six-year-olds (including those with dyslexia) once they read ordinary print. (There's even an iPad app teaching kids and others to read cursive, whether or not they write it or ever will write it. The app — “Read Cursive” — is a free download. Those who are rightly concerned with the vanishing skill of cursive reading may wish to visit appstore.com/readcursive for more information.)

    We don’t require our children to learn to make their own pencils (or build their own printing presses) before we teach them how to read and write. Why require them to write cursive before we teach them how to read it? Why not simply teach children to read cursive — along with teaching other vital skills, such as a form of handwriting that is actually typical of effective handwriters?
    Just as each and every child deserves to be able to read all kinds of everyday handwriting (including cursive), each and every one of our children — dyslexic or not — deserves to learn the most effective and powerful strategies for high-speed high-legibility handwriting performance.
    Teaching material for practical handwriting abounds — especially in the UK and Europe, where such handwriting is taught at least as often as the accident-prone cursive which is venerated by too many North American educators. Some examples, in several cases with student work also shown: http://www.BFHhandwriting.com, http://www.handwritingsuccess.com, http://www.briem.net, http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com, http://www.italic-handwriting.org, http://www.studioarts.net/calligraphy/italic/curriculum.html )

    Even in the USA and Canada, educated adults increasingly quit cursive. In 2012, handwriting teachers across North America were surveyed at a conference hosted by Zaner-Bloser, a publisher of cursive textbooks. Only 37% wrote in cursive; another 8% printed. The majority — 55% — wrote with some elements resembling print-writing, others resembling cursive.
    (If you would like to take part in another, ongoing poll of handwriting forms — not hosted by a publisher, and not restricted to teachers — visit http://www.poll.fm/4zac4 for the One-Question Handwriting Survey, created by this author. As with the Zaner-Bloser teacher survey, so far the results show very few purely cursive handwriters — and even fewer purely printed writers. Most handwriting in the real world — 75% of the response totals, so far — consists of print-like letters with occasional joins.)
    ?
    When even most handwriting teachers do not themselves use cursive, why glorify it?

    Believe it or not, some of the adults who themselves write in an occasionally joined but otherwise print-like handwriting tell me that they are teachers who still insist that their students must write in cursive, and/or who still teach their students that all adults habitually and normally write in cursive and always will. (Given the facts on our handwriting today, this is a little like teaching kids that our current president is Richard Nixon.)

    What, I wonder, are the educational and psychological effects of teaching, or trying to teach, something that the students can probably see for themselves is no longer a fact?
    Cursive's cheerleaders (with whom I’ve had some stormy debates) sometimes allege that cursive has benefits which justify absolutely anything said or done to promote that form of handwriting. The cheerleaders for cursive repeatedly state (sometimes in sworn testimony before school boards and state legislatures) that cursive cures dyslexia or prevents it, that it makes you pleasant and graceful and intelligent, that it adds brain cells, that it instills proper etiquette and patriotism, or that it confers numerous other blessings which are no more prevalent among cursive users than among the rest of the human race. Some claim research support — citing studies that invariably prove to have been misquoted or otherwise misrepresented by the claimant.

    So far, whenever a devotee of cursive claims the support of research, one or more of the following things has become evident as soon as others examined the claimed support:

    /1/ either the claim provides no source,

    or

    /2/ if a source is cited, and anyone checks it out, the source turns out to have been misquoted or incorrectly paraphrased by the person citing it
    ?
    or

    /3/ the claimant correctly???? quotes/cites a source which itself indulges in either /1/ or /2/.
    ?
    Cursive devotees' eagerness to misrepresent research has substantial consequences, as the misrepresentations are commonly made — under oath — in testimony before school districts, state legislatures, and other bodies voting on educational measures. The proposals for cursive are, without exception so far, introduced by legislators or other spokespersons whose misrepresentations (in their own testimony) are later revealed — although investigative reporting of the questionable testimony does not always prevent the bill from passing into law, even when the discoveries include signs of undue influence on the legislators promoting the cursive bill? (Documentation on request: I am willing to be interviewed by anyone who is interested in bringing this serious issue inescapably before the public’s eyes and ears.)
    ?
    ?By now, you’re probably wondering: “What about cursive and signatures? Will we still have legally valid signatures if we stop signing our names in cursive?” Brace yourself: in state and federal law, cursive signatures have no special legal validity over any other kind. (Hard to believe? Ask any attorney!)
    ? Questioned document examiners (these are specialists in the identification of signatures, the verification of documents, etc.) inform me that the least forgeable signatures are the plainest. Most cursive signatures are loose scrawls: the rest, if they follow the rules of cursive at all, are fairly complicated: these make a forger's life easy.

    All handwriting, not just cursive, is individual — just as all handwriting involves fine motor skills. That is why any first-grade teacher can immediately identify (from the print-writing on unsigned work) which of 25 or 30 students produced it.

    Mandating cursive to preserve handwriting resembles mandating stovepipe hats and crinolines to preserve the art of tailoring.

    SOURCES:

    Handwriting research on speed and legibility:

    /1/ Arthur Dale Jackson. “A Comparison of Speed and Legibility of Manuscript and Cursive Handwriting of Intermediate Grade Pupils.”
    Ed. D. Dissertation, University of Arizona, 1970: on-line at http://www.eric.ed.gov/?id=ED056015

    /2/ Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, and Naomi Weintraub. “The Relation between Handwriting Style and Speed and Legibility.” JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, Vol. 91, No. 5 (May - June, 1998), pp. 290-296: on-line at http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/27542168.pdf

    /3/ Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, Naomi Weintraub, and William Schafer. “Development of Handwriting Speed and Legibility in Grades 1-9.”
    JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, Vol. 92, No. 1 (September - October, 1998), pp. 42-52: on-line at http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/27542188.pdf

    Zaner-Bloser handwriting survey: Results on-line at http://www.hw21summit.com/media/zb/hw21/files/H2937N_post_event_stats.pdf

    Ongoing handwriting poll: http://poll.fm/4zac4

    The research most often misrepresented by devotees of cursive (“Neural Correlates of Handwriting" by Dr. Karin Harman-James at Indiana University):
    https://www.hw21summit.com/research-harman-james

    Background on our handwriting, past and present:
    3 videos, by a colleague, show why cursive is NOT a sacrament:

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF CURSIVE —
    http://youtu.be/3kmJc3BCu5g

    TIPS TO FIX HANDWRITING —
    http://youtu.be/s_F7FqCe6To

    HANDWRITING AND MOTOR MEMORY
    (shows how to develop fine motor skills WITHOUT cursive) —
    http://youtu.be/Od7PGzEHbu0

    Yours for better letters,

    Kate Gladstone
    DIRECTOR, the World Handwriting Contest
    CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works
    http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com
    handwritingrepair@gmail.com

    • Justin Pot
      February 18, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      This might be the single best comment I've ever gotten. Thanks for putting in all this thought and research, and for taking the time to write! I'll be checking out your site for sure, Kate.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 18, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      Kate, I can only hope we get more commenters like you. This was simply brilliant. I hope you'll visit other articles on MakeUseOf, we'd love to have you as a regular here :)

      -Mihir, Comments Moderator

  79. Imaduddin Sawal
    February 17, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Email Address Typo previously.

    • Justin Pot
      February 18, 2015 at 3:56 am

      Responding to let you know there are other comments below yours!

  80. Imaduddin Sawal
    February 17, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Justin, here in Pakistan as well as in the other neighboring countries in the region, I ( 15 year old ) was never taught cursive nor programming, because it isn't on the curriculum.
    But I nevertheless learned cursive through ... my own ... and programming through the internet.
    You've got a pretty valid point there, and with typing replacing writing to a high degree, that's pretty accurate.

    • Koshy George
      February 17, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      Cursive writing and programming are on the curriculum in India.

    • Justin Pot
      February 18, 2015 at 3:56 am

      That's interesting about Pakistan. Correct me if I'm wrong: doesn't the primary language there use a different alphabet than Western languages? Did you need to learn both? Maybe you had enough to do already with all that.

    • Imaduddin Sawal
      February 18, 2015 at 11:25 am

      Koshy I've made many friends from India through MOOCs and the majority of them don't have any of those as compulsory, but rather not talk about it.

      Haha, yeah !
      Actually Urdu is written in Arabic script, and yeah the letters in English are completely different. In Pakistan we are taught my national language (Urdu) and English simultaneously from Day 1 in school, and we also give the CIE O'levels exam in High School in which we give English as a First Language :). I have to give that paper next year !

    • Justin Pot
      February 18, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      I can't imagine learning two languages and two alphabets in school! That's impressive.

  81. Souliouz
    February 17, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Justin,
    You are obviously not an educator. Do you know why writing is used at all in school ? (ie vs pure typing) Or why do kids learn to pronounce "S" not as "Ess" but like the serpent sound ?
    It's because there is a method in learning. It is taught not because it's necessarily useful in itself (although it's pretty), but because it teaches a way to write and blend.
    Like math. Only scientists /analysts use factorials/exponential/imaginary numbers/matrix/etc. But ! it builds the brain in working a certain way.

    It's just a building block.
    Maybe going straight to typing-only will come, and may be humanity will still survive :-)

    I'm not here to say you are wrong, just that may be you don't see all the reasons.
    Let's all learn from each others.

  82. Koshy George
    February 17, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    I some how managed to get through school without learning cursive.

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      Did you just skip the classes when it was taught, or was it never on the curriculum?

    • Koshy George
      February 17, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      It was on the curriculum and I didn't skip classes. I am not sure how I did it but I just never learned it. Programming and CS was a compulsory part of the curriculum and I did learn that.

  83. Oz
    February 17, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    I don't know if other people share this but I find that I do not absorb information as well if I take notes typing than if I take notes writing. I don't believe handwriting is on its way to obsolescence with typing, however, your point about needing to learn both print and cursive is well taken. We should probably determine which is a more efficient form of handwriting and focus on teaching that.

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      If studies show that cursive is better in every way I'd be all for teaching kids that and not printing, the point is we don't need to be teaching both. Personally, I find cursive to be less practical, but I'd be willing to admit I'm wrong.

  84. Trev
    February 17, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Schools should teach both, cursive writing and programming! If people forget how to write by hand, they are doomed. Take that phone away from a young fellow, and (s)he cannot add, subtract, multiply, write - is that the future we want for our generations to come?

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      I'm not saying they shouldn't learn to write by hand! Just that learning both printing and cursive is time consuming – and most people prefer to print.

      In an ideal world we could fit absolutely everything into the curriculum, but time constraints mean we need to make choices.

  85. Scott
    February 17, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    I'm inclined to agree Justin. The one case I've heard (and admittedly don't know all of the details about) for teaching cursive is that it's been shown to help people with Dyslexia. However, when I heard that my first thought was "so just teach it to people with Dyslexia as a 'treatment' instead of teaching it to everyone." I also agree that at least basic programming methodology should be taught in schools. I don't know if everyone needs to learn Java, C++, PHP, etc but at least teach them an idea of what Object Oriented Programming is and the basic thoughts behind them. The world is getting more and more technical so it will be a skill used regularly by pretty much everyone over time.

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      It's not just about programming to me: it's about seeing technology a system shaped by humans instead of as a magical force. If kids learned this from a young age, they'd be less afraid to try things out and experiment.

    • Scott
      February 17, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      I think we're agreed Justin. That's why I was saying that there's no need to teach individual languages. Just getting the basics would be a huge step in helping kids understand the technology.

  86. Anonymous
    February 17, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Totally disgree. Maybe some people who doesn't like writing or reading says they don't need that at all. But others prefer some sort of handwriting and, accordingly, don't like typing.

    And, from personal experience, I noticed that many people who are "anti-cursive" simply hate grammar. Ofc this not a rule, even this article is grammatically corect, but I talk about majority.

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      I love grammar! I love to write. It's how I make my living.

      I just think cursive specifically is a waste of time. Kids should learn to print, there's just no reason they should learn a second, scribbly form of writing. It doesn't add much.

    • Candice H. Brown Elliott
      May 20, 2015 at 1:06 am

      OK, time for me to jump in! I agree with Mr. Pot.

      But first I have to say... I love caligraphy. I learned several hands, and even invented my own, based on half uncial, old english, and runes... and then I even created a computer font based on my own font. It utilizes special characters to replace those silly English double letters, "th, ph, wh, sh, ch, gh, ng"

      In school, I couldn't stand the UGLYNESS of spencerian cursive... with its waistful back loops and backtracking... so I invented my own hand, a mix of printed and connected and non-connected letters with "w" looking like a lowercase omega, my lower case "g" looking half between a conventional "g" and a lower case gamma. I have a cursive hand and a print hand now that share the same "look". I use my print hand to write VERY copious entries in lab notebooks, documenting my ideas for inventions (at 91 issued US patents do date, I'm a prolific inventor).

      While I love handwriting. I think teaching standard cursive a standard skill is so... 20th Century. I learned to type at age 12. I could have learned it far younger. We should teach typing instead of cursive. And we should teach good grammar and spelling (because not every word that passes a spell checker was the right word).

      Teach science, and math, and music, and art... and yes... for those art students that wish to learn cursive and caligraphy, and even typography, they can study those too.

    • Justin Pot
      May 20, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Exactly! Calligraphy is an art, and a very beautiful one at that. Cursive is a watered down and hideous version of that art, which was practical for a time but has since become a drain on educational resources.

  87. JR Ewing
    February 17, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    As a handwriting expert for over 30 years, not teaching cursive will be the biggest mistake ever. What schools are doing to the kids is teaching to only print. Printers are functioning neurotic people. They have very low self-esteem, depressed, workaholic/busy-a-holics, can't sit still, uptight, and emotionally immature. They are adult-children and their denial is extremely entrenched. They are emotionally repressed people to the size of a black hole. They cannot connect emotionally to another person even if you gave them a winning powerball ticket. They are among the last to go to therapy and likely the last to improve from counseling. They are lost souls similar to rouge planets kicked out of orbit and wandering aimlessly. And when a printer disagrees, they are only lying to themselves. We should not only teach cursive in third grade but all grades, and continue in college. At the same time put the hammer to smart phones and similar devices. Garbage.

    • Justin Pot
      February 19, 2015 at 3:51 pm

      I seriously can't tell if you're joking or not, JR. Either way, enjoy the mansion and all that.

  88. Dale
    February 17, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    I get what you are saying Justin but to call it a huge waste of time is just not true especially when you are young and developing your brain. Kids brains are sponges and the more exercises they learn the more they will be able to comprehend in the future. It is a fact that handwriting not only improves motor skills but also comprehension. There have been plenty of demonstrations and studies where students take notes on a computer and others take notes by hand and the ones who takes notes by hand will remember what they wrote way more than if they typed it out. Handwriting is also a study tool in this way.
    Don't hate on handwriting or programming. I am an IT Pro who uses both for these reasons.
    I know you code Justin. Have you ever tried to write it out on paper first and see how much you are letting the computer do. This has helped me improve my programming and memory.
    To sum up. Try both. Use both.

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      I actually don't code! I wish I did, but I never learned. Maybe someday...

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      Additionally: are their studies that show printing is worse than cursive? I couldn't find any, and I looked a lot.

    • Lou Guay
      February 17, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      Cursive versus printing is a practical decision. For most people, cursive (even badly done) is faster than printing. The difference becomes significant as the volume being recorded increases.
      Probably not just a matter of practice or frequency of usage. Again, for most people, the mechanics of cursive allow a sustainable pace that printing simply cannot match.

    • Justin Pot
      February 19, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      True, but typing is faster than either – and when a large volume of information needs to be recorded, that's the tool of choice in the modern world.

  89. Jim H
    February 17, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Wrong. More people will need to write, than will need to program. It would be like forcing everyone to learn calculus--very few people in the world will ever need to know it.

    The base skills and concepts that go with programming can be taught by other, more applicable methods. Being able to read cursive also ties us to our past. I've been at parties for kids and they can't read the signatures on their cards when they don't know cursive. It's pathetic.

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      It's pathetic to you, sure, but it will also have no affect on their lives at all other than being the subject of stories like this.

      Can you read Latin? Greek? If not, don't you feel disconnected from your past?

    • Jim H
      February 17, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      That's not my past. My grandparents are. Wouldn't it be nice to read their memoirs if they had them? Last I checked, they didn't code them in a database. It should be pathetic to everyone. The notion that coding is beneficial to everyone is ridiculous. I work with the web every day and what I know is utterly useless to most people.

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      I misunderstood your point! Sorry about that. And I probably shouldn't have put programming into the headline – it's created the impression that I think this is a one-to-one alternative. I don't: programming is just an example of a skill that we need to make more time for, and in order to fit more things into the school curriculum we probably need to leave some things behind. Learning to write cursive is an obvious example to me, and this point isn't particularly controversial among educators from what I understand.

      Having said that, I get the appeal of kids being able to read cursive. My grandparents memoirs are all in Dutch, so I never thought of this (happily my grandmother put together a printed copy in English). But I do think adults could probably work out how to read cursive later in life, if need be, without spending hours and their school time writing it early on.

    • Jim H
      February 17, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      I think it could all be squeezed in. Sadly, our teachers nowadays are so forced into teaching towards standardized tests that that lack the time to teach thing that were easily taught during school in the past. I learned keyboarding in school and a smattering of programming on an old TRS-80.

      We give young minds too little credit at times it would seem.

      That's great that your grandmother translated those for you!

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      I deeply cherish the book she put together, outlining everything about her life in Holland during WW2 to migrating to Canada.

      And yeah, there are all sorts of problems with the education system that need to be fixed. Happily in a lot of ways things are moving in the right direction, and people caring as much as you do will be a big part of that.

  90. likefunbutnot
    February 17, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    I never learned to write cursive. I changed schools when I was young and my new school had taught it in the grade level prior to the one I had entered. So I just never learned. I typed my papers. None of my teachers even knew. When I need to sign something, I make a squiggly, looping line. I'm nearly 40 and none the worse for the (lack of) experience.

    That said, coding is tedious and requires access to expensive resources that may not be universally available. It wouldn't even be my eighth choice for a subject to add to a school curriculum. Time would be better spent teaching logic and/or rhetoric, both of which are applicable in every student's life. Let those who are destined to code learn it when they're a little older.

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      And today, you probably write cursive about as well as most your former class mates – which is to say, not at all. Nothing lost.

  91. dragonmouth
    February 17, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    "Almost everyone reading this article was taught cursive in school, but most of you don’t use it."
    We use it any time we sign any kind of document. Would you have everybody sign with an "X"?

    Yes, programming should be taught but in the same manner as cursive writing - as one or two semester course. Just as, according to you, very few people need cursive writing skills, not many people need programming skills. If you had said that we should teach computer literacy, I would agree with you

    "Bad Reasons To Learn Useless Skills"
    Following your line of reasoning, we can get rid of most of the subjects taught in primary and secondary schools. We should eliminate music and art courses since very few children go into either field. Eliminate geography because we have GoogleMaps, AppleMaps and MapQuest. Eliminate the sciences because, unless one majors in them in college, nobody uses the sciences once out of highschool. And besides, there always is Google, DuckDuckGo and wkipedia. Might as well eliminate Language Arts because of what use is learning about dead white poets and writers. Many schools have already eliminated physical education as superfluous. Of what practical use is learning about dead civilizations?

    Take off your rose colored glasses, Justin. Your question is an illustration of a First World problem. There is a large number of humans who still are illiterate. Come back and resubmit your article when everybody on Earth can read and write. Then your question will have some relevance and significance.

    • Paul Werner
      February 17, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      Glad someone came on here to say this. Totally agree with you Mr. (or Mrs.?) dragonmouth

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      "Come back and resubmit your article when everybody on Earth can read and write. Then your question will have some relevance and significance."

      I really detest this line of thinking. We can't put any time at all into problems so long as bigger problems exist elsewhere? That line of thinking leads to spending far too much time shooting ideas down and not enough time actually doing stuff.

      Every problem is worth looking at, and worth solving – and solving something seemingly superficial here might lead to solutions elsewhere. Making the world better isn't a competition – it's a conversation.

      As to your other point: if you really think loopy letters are just as important as history, science and other subjects then we disagree. There are plenty of skills schools have stopped teaching because they're obsolete, though – it's happened throughout history, and will keep happening.

    • Marco Sarli
      February 17, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      Large fingers and small keyboard do not help my typing skills. But this is besides the point. Cursive forces one to spend time to produce a readable result and gives time to think. It induces order and stimulates a rational judgment.
      Not being a native speaker and being the school in my country what it was at the time, to learn English I used to copy (by hand) entire pages while looking up the words in a dictionary. It helped a lot. I still use a fountain pen to take my notes.
      There is beauty in cursive handwriting as there is beauty in good typography and beauty is essential to life . It is what we should try to achieve in everything. I am sure there is beauty also in good programming. A person with good writing skills is, usually, also someone with a strong reading habit .

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      I am all for calligraphy being taught as an art, and even as a learning tool. But cursive is a downgraded form of calligraphy designed to be faster, and is less beautiful than proper script. If we're aiming for beauty, let's go all out – cursive is half-assing it by design.

    • Buffet
      February 17, 2015 at 10:06 pm

      BRAVO!!

    • Buffet
      February 17, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      Bravo Dragonmouth that is! (Just so we're clear)

    • dragonmouth
      February 17, 2015 at 10:40 pm

      @Justin:
      "I really detest this line of thinking."
      And I detest the "it does not suit me, I don't like it so we must get rid of it" kind of thinking.

      "We can’t put any time at all into problems so long as bigger problems exist elsewhere?"
      Cursive writing seems to be only YOUR problem, your bete noir. Reading the posts, the "I don't need no steeenking cursive" seems to be in the minority.

      "if you really think loopy letters are just as important as history, science and other subjects then we disagree."
      Of course you would disagree with anyone who thinks "loopy letters" are important. Whether accidentally or on purpose, you missed my point (and I did not write it in cursive.) My point is that a rationalization can be found to declare any subject obsolete and not worthy of being taught.

      likefunbutnot suggests that we get back to teaching logic and/or rhetoric, which were taught continuously for many centuries. Then somebody, who probably did poorly in those subjects, decided that there was no more need for logic and rhetoric. I agree with likefunbutnot, logic and rhetoric should again be taught in our schools. These subjects would have a wider application than programming.

  92. Marco Sarli
    February 17, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    it is very sad to read something like this. Should this be implemented it would be the first step towards a Fahrenheit 451 world . The result would be to drastically reduce access to knowledge
    and increase the already enormous number of techno-illiterates. In my opinion a crucial point is that the quantity of unfiltered information is overwhelming and the tools to detect quality are limited .Writing, particularly cursive is one of them. I could go on ,and for a long time but,unfortunately, also the average attention span is shrinking and this comment is probably already way too long.

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      The comments is far from too long, please do go on! I'm loving all these alternative points of view.

      But to respond in part: proper punctuation usage could be another way to detect quality in writing – generally spaces after commas are a good idea. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

      Why do you think cursive in particular is so special? To me it's always seemed arcane, and I wish we'd spent that time on something else.

    • WiseIdiot
      February 17, 2015 at 6:08 pm

      Wait what?

      Are you saying that a piece of literature could be of higher quality simply simply because it's written in cursive? What sense does that make? Please clarify.

  93. Arpit
    February 17, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    I'm inclined to agree with your opinion Justin.I also think that cursive handwriting is just pure waste of time and programming will increase opportunities in future for students.

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      You seem to be in the minority, though!

    • Buffet
      February 17, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      Wrongo armpit!

  94. Sam Park
    February 17, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    What about signatures? Are you just going to print your name on a check?

    • eric jay
      February 17, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      Great point there sam. Though my signature is as like a chicken had scratched.lol

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      Committing hundreds of hours of classroom time just so people can sign things doesn't seem prudent to me. Surely we can come up with a better way of verifying transactions?

      Plus, as Eric points out, most people's signatures hardly resemble their name in any case.

    • SpoonmanWoS
      February 17, 2015 at 4:13 pm

      Why not?

      And, that's a serious question. Why not? What difference does it make? If my signature is consistently printed, then it's my signature. Similar to Eric, I still scribble out a signature, but there's no chance in hell anyone could possibly trace it back to me if they didn't already know it was mine. There's a giant squiggle for the first letter, and after that it's just a wavy, trailing line. How is that better? Are you really suggesting that we waste hours of education time so someone can write a single thing in a specific way that it isn't even necessary?

      Your question is akin to something that might have been asked at the turn of the 20th century: "What would you want with an automobile? What if you're driving home late one night and get tired? If you were still riding a horse, it would get you home without issue!"

    • Buffet
      February 17, 2015 at 10:04 pm

      Amen. This cat (the author) is a nut!

    • Justin Pot
      February 18, 2015 at 4:05 am

      Am I a cat or a nut? I can't be both, you need to choose one.

  95. Scott
    February 17, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    A great-aunt of mine left an important hand-written note for her grandson. He never read it. He had to wait for his mother to get home from work to read it to him, because he couldn't even read cursive writing! His grandparents were livid.

    It's nonsense that no one uses it these days. My friends and family use it all the time.

    • Justin Pot
      February 17, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      While it's true that some people still do use cursive, study after study shows that /most/ people don't. And there's a reason for that: it's not terribly practical.

      Your story is a good one, but the fact is the grandson will probably very rarely run into cursive again, unless he becomes an archivist.

    • Evan McElroy
      February 17, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      It has been proven that writing in cursive improves motor and critical thinking skills. When writing in cursive children's brain activity is heightened to a grown up level.

      If I need to brainstorm or get my brain juices flowing I take out a pen and a piece of paper and write my ideas down in cursive. I get my best ideas that way. I agree that people do not need cursive from day to day but I believe that there still are benefits to learning cursive.

      If I ever have children I will teach them cursive writing myself if schools ever do stop teaching cursive.

    • dragonmouth
      February 17, 2015 at 10:11 pm

      @Justin:
      "While it’s true that some people still do use cursive, study after study shows that /most/ people don’t."
      I notice you did not include the reason why "most people don't use cursive." Could it be that their handwriting is illegible, not because handwriting as such is obsolete?

      " it’s not terribly practical."
      Not practical to whom? You? There many millions of people who do use handwriting.

  96. Lola LB
    February 17, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    If an electromagnetic bomb takes out the power grid, you'll have to resort to . . . yes . . . hand writing.

    And . . . there are still millions of primary sources out there that are handwritten and not digitized. And even if these were digitized and transcribed, someone still has to read the cursive writing.

    Finally . . . what is the best way avoid spy agencies eavesdropping on you? Write something on a piece of paper and smuggle it out to the person you want it to receive.

    Sorry, but I think we should still continue to teach cursive writing. No, not the Spencer method, but rather, the Italic method. You need to go talk to Kate Gladstone at http://handwritingthatworks.com. Yes, I know her website is not the prettiest, but she's given good reasons for continuing to teach handwriting.

    • Justin Pot
      February 19, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      If the power grid is taken out I'll also have to resort to hunting squirrels for protein and hoarding ammunition, but we don't teach those skills in the classroom. We don't make education decisions around post-apocolyptic scenarios. And even if we did: printing will work just fine.

      I've been talking with archivists about the digitizing process, and the consensus seems to be that people can learn to read cursive pretty quickly, without learning to write it.

      And printing will work just fine to avoid the spy agencies.

      Kate herself left a very big comment below! I'm glad she got in touch, you should check out her comment.

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