A couple weeks ago, the Louisiana state senate voted to require schools to teach third graders cursive writing. Although the mandate has to clear more hurdles before it becomes the law of Louisiana, its very existence probably delights the vocal cursive-writing lobby.
Due to my advanced age, you might expect me to be cheering on this potential law. After all, my generation represents one of the last groups to be taught cursive. But the truth is that I do not care if kids learn how to write and read those squiggly little lines.
I realize this declaration might give people the vapors. Indeed, it seems as if every day a story touting the benefits of cursive pops into my trending feed. According to these stories, which oodles of my friends like and share, cursive makes people smarter. What’s more, they assert that after the technology apocalypse, cursive will save mankind.
Although I haven’t reviewed the aforementioned studies, I have no reason to doubt them. In fact, if I hadn’t quit writing cursive years ago (more on that later), I’m sure I would have learned how to make gravy, sew, read a map, do long division, hang blinds, etc. But I roll my eyes at the suggestion that everyone must learn cursive so they’ll be able to read when the computers shut down. If and when every computer in the world crashes, are we going to forget how to read and write printing?
No, we’re not.
Except for my signature, I have not written cursive in years. No, make that decades. I recently found a journal I kept my senior year of high school and first year of college. Content notwithstanding, the thing I found most surprising about the journal was that it was written in cursive. It was like stepping into a time machine (in more ways than one).
In case you’re wondering, there’s a simple explanation for why I switched from cursive to printing. Printing words and letters proved faster and easier during class lectures. Later, when I started interviewing people for my journalism courses and the college yearbook and newspaper, printing improved my ability to take notes. Of course, the pro-cursive contingent maintains that it’s faster to write in cursive. While that might be true for them, it’s not the case for everyone. Printing has always felt more natural for me.
In an effort of full disclosure, however, I must share that my printing has been described as “serial killing handwriting.” Then again, my cursive writing has never received rave reviews, either. Nonetheless, printing has served me well since the early 1990s and I feel sure it will continue to do so after the machines quit working.
This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.