The Curse of Losing Cursive

Published January 24, 2011

Buzz up!It’s no surprise the education-industrial complex behind the drafting of the national Common Core standards for teaching English omitted cursive writing or penmanship from what is deemed essential for children to learn. They call instead for giving kids “digital tools to produce and publish writing,” preferably in teams. Their standards give short shrift to what it means to be a literate human being. As much as astute Georgia teachers may want to reintegrate cursive writing into the standards, it’s doubtful as long as Georgia is aligned with Common Core.

What will be lost when we can no longer write or read cursive? How about poetry? Imagine the puzzlement in a post-cursive world were archivists to receive a poem written in the hand of Robert Frost, the very poem he had composed to read at President’s Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration. That priceless discovery of a lost gem came just a few years ago.

What a loss it will be for future generations never to receive a love letter written in beautifully flowing letters and words. Instead of “I love you, darling, with all my heart and soul,” they will have to be content with such cryptic text messages as M$ULkeCrZ (“miss you like crazy”) or CUIMD (“see you in my dreams”).

Will ours be a better world when we all are keypunching automatons with no appreciation for the beauty and meaning of handwritten language?

Robert Holland is a senior fellow for education policy at The Heartland Institute.