Should Schools still Teach Cursive?

     I see cursive at random times every day. Scribbled on the front of my paycheck. Scrawled across the top of a poster. My English teacher’s instructions written on the whiteboard. But the kid sitting next to me in that same class doesn’t have a clue what we are supposed to be doing. Cursive writing has almost reached the end of the line, but it doesn’t have to and it shouldn’t. 

     My brother came home from school one day and asked me how in the world people could read a bunch of stringy lines. Admittedly, I was completely confused, so I asked him what he meant. He pulled a paper out of his backpack to show me, and there it was. English Learning Targets was written across the top of the paper in loopy writing that was all connected. He told me he couldn’t read it but his teacher could. She could even write it.

     My brother was in the fourth grade and didn’t know what the word cursive even meant. 

     In 2010, the Common Core State Standards were changed and cursive writing was no longer mandatory to teach in public or private schools. Since then, most states have not been teaching kids cursive handwriting. But isn’t cursive a basic life skill? What happens when the next generation doesn’t even know how to sign their name? 

     Some might argue that cursive has no real use other than looking pretty. If it’s already dying, why not just let it die? Occupational Therapist Suzanne Baruch Asherson from The New York Times said, “Cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres, something absent from printing and typing.” The College Board also found that students who wrote in cursive on the SATs ended up scoring higher than those who printed their essays because they didn’t have to slow down to write block printing. Writing in cursive helped the students put virtually all of their focus onto their work.

     The Common Core State Standards don’t require cursive because they only measure testable skills, but writing in cursive can help improve brain development in the areas of thinking, language, and memory, Asherson said. 

     In today’s society, writing in general isn’t used very often. Most word exchanges are typed out on a laptop or desktop, so there isn’t a reason why schools should still keep teaching it. Kimberly Reese, an English teacher at Kaneland High School, said that it is a hard question to answer but her preference is that the handwriting practices should include cursive because it improves penmanship. When kids in school do write out words instead of typing them out, sometimes it can be hard to decipher what they wrote because they were never taught the basic skill of handwriting or cursive. 

     We have the entire world at our fingertips and letters on our keyboards. But sometimes technology isn’t the best way to do things. Even though cursive is a dying practice, it should be brought back to life.