On Cursive

Cpl Of GuardIn the recent Trayvon Martin case much was made of the young woman. not very well spoken, who explained that she couldn’t read cursive.  A shock to men and women over forty or so but not at all new news to parents of school age children because cursive writing instruction is being dropped right and left everywhere (check with your own school district.)

I’m of two minds about this.  Cursive was developed to accommodate nib pens, that is if you could keep your pen on the paper instead of picking it up after every letter,  you let much fewer drops of ink fall.  And so with the disappearance of nib pens so should go cursive.

Yet the disappearance of cursive diminishes a beautiful expression of language.  Good cursive is an art form, although penmanship, that is the teaching of good cursive, disappeared in the New York City public school system when I was in fourth grade in 1954/55 and I assume elsewhere in the nation at about the same time.  Therefore one could also make the argument that if you’re not going to teach how to do it well why teach it at all.

dec3But it’s sad.  Especially when children in years to come will look upon the originals of our founding documents, the Declaration Of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill-Of-Rights and consider that they were written in some sort of odd indecipherable text.

And this is not good.