Louisiana

Louisiana Lawmakers Will Make Kids Study Cursive—Yes, Cursive—for Years

As the world becomes more digital, why must students be taught an archaic skill?

|

Agnieszka / Tookapic

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill Tuesday mandating public and charter schools introduce students to cursive writing by the time they reach third grade, with instruction continuing until graduation from high school. This policy will go into effect prior to the start of the 2017-18 school year.

The bill was introduced by state Senator Beth Mizell, who said she had heard of cases where young people did not know what a signature means.

"To deprive our students of not knowing how to write cursive, no less read cursive, is pretty audacious on our part," Mizell told the Louisiana Senate Education Committee in April.

Mizell's complaints were joined by the committee's chairman, Dan "Blade" Morrish, who brought up a moment between his mother-in-law and nephew after she gave the youngster a grocery shopping list.

"He said he could not read it," Morrish said. "It was cursive. She has beautiful cursive handwriting."

What Mizell and her colleagues fail to understand is how outdated cursive is for this and future generations. Much like the slide rule in math, cursive is a useless skill to learn because better and more efficient methods of writing—such as typing—have become popular. Why write out a message in cursive when you can send a message on your smartphone or computer more easily?

If this trend is not enough to convince you cursive needs to go away, consider what Morgan Polikoff, assistant professor of education at the University of Southern California, wrote in The New York Times in 2013:

Cursive should be allowed to die. In fact, it's already dying, despite having been taught for decades. Very small proportions of adults use cursive for their day-to-day writing. Much of our communication is done on a keyboard, and the rest is done with print.

Additionally, there is little compelling research to suggest the teaching of cursive positively affects other student skills enough to merit its teaching. 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.

I reached out to Mizell's office to see how much time would be devoted to cursive, but did not hear back by the time of publication. Regardless, any amount would clearly be a waste in the digital world we live in. Why should state policy have anything to say about whether young people can read a grandmother's grocery list?

NEXT: Gary Johnson Taking the Same Support from Clinton as Trump

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Thank you. I gotten into this with people. The reason for cursive is “muh feelz” and nostalgia. Also, never miss an opportunity to feel superior to the yuts.

    1. The reason is that it is an efficient and quick way to write. Unless you don’t want them to learn how to write at all and just rely on typing, why not teach them the most efficient way?

      Also, we teach kids things to teach discipline and mental acuity as well. Learning cursive is a great exercise for the brain.

      http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/m…..ng-cursive

      How many kids need algebra? Would you stop requiring math class as well?

      1. The thing about math is that you don’t know a priori which kids will end up using it later in life. All you know is that if they don’t learn math, they never can use it. That’s why we teach the basics to everyone at young age. It’s all about increasing their opportunities. I don’t really see how cursive increases anyone’s opportunities. Maybe it feeds into artistic abilities?

        1. That is a great point.

      2. I’m sure there are lots of activities we could point to (typing even?) that teach kids discipline and mental acuity. It doesn’t make them all worthwhile endeavors.

        1. Sure. But this one clearly is. It is both useful and develops mental skills not otherwise developed.

          1. So teach kids typing and calligraphy then. Learning to efficiently communicate and gaining the other skills cursive offers have NO LOGICAL REASON to be stitched together like some abomination. Teach kids to communicate and teach them calligraphy. Both skillsets then get more focus than teaching them cursive alone does.

            1. Learning to efficiently communicate and gaining the other skills cursive offers have NO LOGICAL REASON

              yes they do. Taking notes by hand is proven to provide better memory retention than typing notes. So students should be taking notes by hand. Doing that without being able to write in cursive is going to be very difficult.

              We teach kids cursive for a lot of reasons but the biggest ones is so they can take notes easier. Exactly what about that do you find illogical?

              1. Teach them Pittman or Gregg shorthand.

                1. Ted,

                  Both of those are more difficult than cursive and few people know how to read them. Also, the retention benefits come from writing it in long hand. So teaching them short hand would defeat the purpose.

                  1. I spend a lot of time almost every day looking at a lot of signatures, and I triple dog dare you to tell me that 90% of people have even a legible signature no matter what style they use to write it. (Admittedly, these are M.D.’s and R.N.’s)

                    That tends to happen after 20-40 years of writing the same damn thing day after day.

                    What you are essentially saying is ‘those damn kids’ need to learn the same idiotic nonsense that we were taught for no other reason than because it was taught to us. I learned how to use a slide rule at one point, and guess how many times I’ve used that instead of my smartphone to do math? If you guessed ‘zero’ you would be correct.

                    Adults tend to overemphasize the shit we were taught as being ‘better’ but I can tell you in this case it really isn’t. One should obviously know how to write, and I don’t really care if it’s one over the other, but cursive is one of those things that is far more likely to be illegible than it is to be legible.

                    The fact is, if it’s long enough for cursive to make a difference in how long it takes to write it you should have typed it out. My 100+ WPM gets it done faster than anyone physically writing it down unless they’re using esoteric shorthand.

        2. My own experience: I don’t recall learning cursive, but I can write it adequately. I do recall learning how to touch type properly (think it started in third grade), and I vividly recall it giving me discipline and self-confidence. It can also be complemented with a competitive challenge, which makes it fun.

          1. No one is saying kids shouldn’t learn to type. It is just that it should not come at the expense of learning cursive.

          2. My experience is the opposite. I can touch type, but I have no recollection of learning it. Cursive on the other hand, I have many memories of, as a dysgraphic, I have the handwriting of a drunk physician with depth perception problems. As such, I was assigned “extra” penmanship work all throughout 3rd and 4th grade.

            1. *high five*

              I have no use for writing. I even make my to do list on my phone.

            2. Me too. No amount of practice makes my handwriting OK.

            3. I think the social and competitive aspect is what made it more memorable for me. I am starting to recall learning cursive, and I remember it being an individual struggle with keeping the words correctly sized and spaced and all that. With typing, friends and I could challenge each other to contests and train each other that way.

              Plus, Mario Teaches Typing.

              1. You’d hit Mavis Beacon, wouldn’t you?

      3. The reason is that it is an efficient and quick way to write

        Umm, no, a keyboard is a quick and efficient way to write. Scrawling sticks are for luddites.

        1. Luddites and people who have poor information retention

          pss.sagepub.com/content/25/6/1159

          If you sit in a class and take notes on a lap top rather than writing notes, you are going to remember very little of what you heard.

          1. If you sit in a class and take notes on a lap top rather than writing notes, you are going to remember very little of what you heard.

            I’m in agreement with John here; my personal experience with both methods of transcription/note-taking tells me that, for me at least, writing down what I’m hearing (or the salient points of what I’m reading) is much more conducive to my actually remembering the material, whether for test-taking purposes or for longer-term retention. The least effective method? Audio recording the lecture, seminar or whatever. Damn near useless from my perspective.

          2. If you sit in a class and take notes on a lap top rather than writing notes, you are going to remember very little of what you heard.

            That is a grand generalization. People learn/retain differently and different note-taking techniques work differently for different people. Personally, I find my retention to be much greater when I am watching a presenter while touch-typing than when I am watching my paper while writing notes out by hand. I also get more detailed notes written as I don’t have pause my note-taking to look up from my handwriting to view graphics or other material. I also type faster than I write (legibly).

      4. “an efficient and quick way to write”

        If you’re concerned about writing “quickly” then how come I don’t here you calling for our script to eliminate certain vowels to save time writing, like Arabic or Hebrew scripts do?? Or, fuck it, let’s resort to symbols with many contextual meanings like Kanji. There’s PLENTY of scripts that are MUCH more efficient than cursive. They are also harder to read because of it. Cursive is similar in that it is harder to read simply to save a bit of time writing. But cursive is still inefficient compared to many other things other scripts do.

        If you REALLY cared about script efficiency and NONE of your opinion was guided by FEELZ, you’d demand the invention of a new, more efficient script altogether.

        But nah, you just want to make everyone use it for your feelz.

        1. Cursive is easy to read. bad penmanship is hard to read.

          I get email every day that is impossible to read because of the typos, text-ese, emoticons, etc. So while the electronic characters allegedly solved the problem of bad penmanship it introduced additional problems. Fortunately, government can read everything I type on a computer..

        2. I’m just going to say that teaching writing improves spelling as well as proper sentence structure and speech. Then there’s the myriad of times you need to jot down a note rather than type it into a laptop or phone. There are many places you won’t have something digital with you when you need to jot something down.

      5. Meh. I learned cursive but I still print when I write.

        If you want to exercise the brain, I’d say math is a better and more potentially useful way to do it than handwriting.

        I don’t see any problem with teaching cursive to kids. It’s good to be able to read old people handwriting, and to use it if they want. But I don’t think they need to be forced to practice it for years when there is more productive learning to be done.

      6. What I wonder about is signatures. Do kid who grow not learning cursive print their signatures?

        1. They scrible something down that starts with the same letter just like everybody else. Nobody actually compares signatures to see if it’s the same person anymore.

    2. Fine motor skills training and a legible handwriting as a by-product.

      1. I got my fine motor skills from Atari.

      2. A lot of people’s cursive handwriting I find pretty impossible to read. It’s just capital letters and a bunch of squiggles. And I spent years in school practicing cursive writing.

    3. My friend ‘Natasha Bruce’ makes $95/hour on the internet. She has been laid off for siX mOnths but last month her paycheck was $20850 just working on the internet for a few hours. Try it out on following website,.. Go to this website and read more_______________ http://www.earnmore9.com

    4. Hand eye coordination.

      What a waste of time.

      1. Because cursive is the only way to develop such coordination?

        I think there are probably more productive ways to do that.

    5. They should teach the kids S?tterlin.

    6. Cursive writing is ordinary handwriting. Abolishing the teaching of cursive writing and relying on typewritten writing is basically requiring kids to get grocery lists and laundry lists from their parents via computer or smartphone.

      Which in the longer run would seem to saying to parents that they should give each of their kids (including, presumably, seven or eight year olds) their own mobile phone so they can receive grocery lists and laundry lists from their parents because handwriting has been deemed by the state to be too old-fashioned to teach in 21st century children. (What is more they will need to upgrade those same kids to a new phone every few years as old ones because too old-fashioned to copy with the pace of technology. (just as the people of 2016 are probably not using the same smartphones they had back in, say, 2010.)

      Back when I was in school we got taught Roman numerals–even though no Romans had been around for centuries to use them. Simply because a skill is old-fashioned does not mean it is not still being used, and therefore useful to have.

      The trouble with computer technology is that it is expensive to buy and has to keep being upgraded. That surely is an expense you do not want to burden parents with, least of all just so they can send grocery lists to their kids.

    7. I guess you don’t give a shit if people have a legible signature. Fraud happens.

  2. Forcing children to become literate! The horror!

    1. OMG….STFU

      1. Never.

        Also, there is a slide rule lying on the desk one foot from where I type.

        Not teaching people to write with a pen because of the ubiquitousness of electronic means of communication is as short sighted as the old guys who refused to let students use calculators in math class.

        Learn both.

        1. My slide rule isn’t on my desk but I know in which storage box it resides.

          As for calculators as long as they know why, go for it. Although when I taught accounting and asked for present value calculations, there were those who made mistakes because they didn’t properly set up the calculations.

          1. I actually miss my old slide rule.

        2. Exactly Suthenboy. I have never found knowing more to be a detriment of any kind, unless I am talking to a collectivist about economics.

    2. I can’t read any of the books at the library because they are all printed in cursive.

      1. +1 Book of Kells

  3. Obviously, the kids should be taught critical race theory and intersectionality instead. At their grade level, of course.

  4. Norfolk schools quietly stopped teaching cursive years ago. My kid was upset about that, so she taught herself.

  5. Why write out a message in cursive when you can send a message on your smartphone or computer more easily?

    (a) Your battery is dead.
    (b) The recipient doesn’t text, tweet, or whatever.
    (c) You would prefer not to leave electronic copies all over creation.

    1. Printing is still taught in schools, and most assignments at the lower grades are still hand written. The previously devoted to cursive would be better spent working on typing – and it is in the school my kids attend.

      1. And the kids are going to learn typing anyway. They likely won’t learn cursive and learning cursive has other benefits.

        More importantly, why handicap them with only being able to print. They will have to use a pen some day and only printing is a slow and inefficient way to do so.

        1. Cursive is just lazy script written by assholes who were to lazy to pick up their fucking pens. Oh sure, let’s make everyting neigh unreadable because we don’t want to spend the .5 seconds to expend the energy to lift our hand.

          Print may take longer but it’s a LOT easier to read when every letter is distinct and separate. Cursive saves time at the expense of legibility. I see no use in teaching kids the lazy way to write.

          1. It’s like the writers of Arabic script who are too busy trying to make everything quick and efficient so they just skip over vowels and make everything neigh unreadable unless you are well versed in the language.

          2. No. Printing is inefficient script written by borderline illiterates. In the world before type face, people wrote in cursive because it was the most efficient and best way to do it.

            The science is very clear that taking notes via long hand provides much better retention than typing notes. If you don’t teach kids how to write in cursive, it is going to be very difficult to take written notes in class. And if they can’t take written notes, their retention is going to be much lower than if they could.

            1. Printing is inefficient script written by borderline illiterates

              That’s helpful. How about this: if cursive is important to you, teach it to your kids or send them to a school that does.

              I’m perfectly capable of writing in cursive and I choose to print because it is easier to read and not that much slower. And I printed all my notes in class in school and it worked just fine.

              1. It was a joke Zeb written in response to his “lazy assholes” comment.

                How about reading the meat of the comment and getting back to me. Here it is.

                The science is very clear that taking notes via long hand provides much better retention than typing notes. If you don’t teach kids how to write in cursive, it is going to be very difficult to take written notes in class. And if they can’t take written notes, their retention is going to be much lower than if they could.

                1. Alright, I had a humor lapse.

                  And I always took notes in long hand (but not cursive) for that very reason (and I only occasionally had to go back to the notes to study because of it). The advantages are in handwriting, not specifically cursive.

                  1. Yes but cursive is the fastest and most efficient way to write longhand. If they need to take notes, why not teach them the most efficient way? Why handcuff every kid to printing?

                    1. Yeah, fine, teach it. I just don’t think that years of practicing it is a good use of school time. Public schools already waste too much time on stupid crap.

            2. I thought people wrote in script because the ink would blot otherwise; before that, people wrote in print.

            3. I learned cursive, and never used it. I took all my notes long-hand in high school, college, and today as a working adult in print (and I write in all capital letters for some stupid reason too) and I don’t find it “very difficult”. They also taught me how to type in school, and I still don’t type correctly to this day. Yet here I am working on a computer 10 hours a day using just 4 fingers to type and that isn’t “very difficult” either.

              I have no horse in this race as I don’t care if schools want to teach it or not. Or if people want to use said skills or not. I see no reason for it to be a law in either case. Do politicians not have anything better to do with their time? (rhetorical)

          3. Cursive is just lazy script written by assholes who were to lazy to pick up their fucking pens.

            I suspect Big Ink.

      2. Printing is still taught in schools

        Printing takes too long. And besides, “print is dead.”

    2. Yeah, I know, that’s more “writing” than “cursive”. I stopped cursiving the moment the teachers let me (Highschool, I believe) because my cursive was horrid.

      1. I also stopped the second my teachers told me I no longer had to use it, sixth grade, and haven’t looked back. The only time I’ve used cursive besides my signature, which can barely be called cursive really, was to write a paragraph saying I wouldn’t cheat on or copy the GRE or something, which for some reason they require to be in cursive.

        1. They have that paragraph on the SAT. Only time learning cursive has ever done me any good. All my notes in college and highschool were handwritten in print. Easier for both myself and others to review at a later date.

      2. Seriously. The only time I write in cursive is filling out checks. (And the only reason I do that is because I’ve always done it that way and I’m afraid the bank would freak out if I changed.) And just how many checks do I write in a typical month? Exactly one, for my rent. All of my utilities are paid online. Everywhere else, I either use cash or my debit card.

        One reason schools fail so miserably is that they try to teach way too much. Cursive writing is one thing I think they could safely drop.

    3. a. plug your phone in, duh.

      b. send an email, duh.

      c. Call a high ranking government official to learn how to wipe the server with a cloth, duh.

      1. What about after the zombie apocalypse hits and the power grid goes down, what then smart guy? While you’re taking your sweet time trying to print a message to be found by other survivors and getting eaten by the horde as a result, I’ll have already written my message and shot the zombies chasing me in the head. /sarc

    4. (d) You are in an environment hostile to electronics (think hot & humid); or
      (e) you need long-term storage/transmissiom of some info sans the availability of electricity.

      1. Ahem.

        “transmission

        Where’s muh EDIT button?!?

      2. Print. There I solved it for you. Note this is the solution that the population as a whole has chosen near universally for all the problems listed.

  6. Once cursive dies the proggies will start claiming the Constitution is invalid because no one can read it any more.

    1. ^This, too.

      But there is a difference between reading cursive and being able to write it. I think that to graduate HS you should have to cold transcribe a section of the US Constitution, or Declaration of Independence. This in addition to understanding what those documents say, of course.

      1. Senator: If you want to work on my staff you just need to answer one question: what does the second amendment mean?

        Reasoner:That says the government cannot interfere with the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

        Senator: Okay, well, we have other people to interview, we’ll let you know, goodbye now.

        (Same set up, new interviewee)

        Public school graduate: Well, uh, I mean, what do you want it to mean?

        Senator: You’re hired!

      2. I was joking… I think.

        1. Sadly, you are not. It’s merely a variant of the old joke asked to potential candidates for an accountant position:

          Interviewer: “According to the income statement and balance sheet in front of you, what is the net profit of the firm for this year?”
          Candidate: “What would you like it to be?”
          Interviewer: “You’re HIRED!”

    2. Actually came here to say something like this.

      Who needs to read cursive, anyway? It’s not like all of the country’s founding documents are written in cursive… Oh… wait.

      1. But it has been reprinted in wikipedia in an easy-to-read sans-serif font. So, all good.

        1. She only reads original documents.

      2. Most people can’t write copperplate or gothic calligraphy and yet are still able to read it. Not teaching cursive is not going to eliminate it from society.

        1. Yeah, I used to have the same concern and was certain my kids should/would learn cursive for this very reason.

          Then I actually had a 6-yr.-old (actually more than one at this point). It turns out they can read all kinds of stuff that they can’t write and typing not only opens them up to a whole world of original documents but explanations and analyses thereof. And they’ll consume it all, selectively, whether you ‘force’ them to or not.

          Now? Take it or leave it. Don’t want it? Homeschool and/or tell your local principal/administrator that he should really look into setting up an exchange program where he sends kids who want to learn STEM (or w/e) to another school and the other school can send him all the kids/parents who want cursive.

    3. They already claim that. Written 100 years ago in a language no one can read, by white guys who owned slaves. Because there are no electronic copies that are not written in cursive.

    4. Not like they read it now.

      But yeah, in addition to being written by “slave owning white men” and therefore irrelevant, it was also written in an archaic form of handwriting that nobody uses anymore anyway.

    5. ^Agreed some guy

    6. Once cursive dies the proggies will start claiming the Constitution is invalid because no one can read it any more.

      Except… it has been transcribed into print many, many times. I still have my old Boy Scout Bicentennial Pocket Constitution laying around somewhere.

  7. Is there any Progressive fashion that reason doesn’t buy into?

    1. Is there any subject John won’t turn into an Us vs. Them battle for the future of all civilization?

      1. I’ve never seen one.

        1. You are seeing one now.

      2. Sure this one. Since when is fashion a battle for the future of civilization?

          1. Okay, maybe that one time.

        1. It doesn’t seem to be a Progressive fashion, though, as evidenced by all the libertarians here disagreeing with you.

          1. No. It is a progressive fashion. And they like it. It is not a prog fashion because the like it.

            1. Or it could be a common cultural shift that progressives happen to be part of as well as a lot of other people.

              Whatever. I think it’s probably a good thing for people to learn. But you are way overselling the benefits.

  8. I’ve become convinced that every problem/conflict/bit of silliness reported about schools could be come fixed through privatization.

    Feel cursive is important to developing good writing skills? Select a school that endorses that view. Think printing is just OK? Likewise.

    1. Sure. And the people who run the Louisiana state schools think it is important. That is their right.

      1. Per Reason, this bill would also apply to charter schools.

        1. Charter schools are also government funded. If they applied this to private schools, that would be overstepping their bounds.

    2. Privatization of schools would fix a hell of a lot more than just the silliness in the schools.

  9. you would study it for the same reason you would study Latin, it is a good discipline for the mind. besides learning “things” in school, it is also important to impart discipline, logic, and how to learn on students..

    1. Is the same not accomplished by learning print or typing?

      1. No it is not. There is a lot of research that says cursive writing helps with overall mental development.

        http://www.brainbalancecenters…..n-cursive/

        1. Yes, you don’t learn it just to communicate like some shitty block lettering. the patience needed to form the precision and style is a good discipline.. and I am talking about good handwriting. not some crappy doctors cursive that is, yes, all connected but nobody can read..

          1. “No it is not. There is a lot of research that says cursive writing helps with overall mental development.”

            “Yes, you don’t learn it just to communicate like some shitty block lettering. the patience needed to form the precision and style is a good discipline.”

            Yet I don’t see either of you calling for mandatory calligraphy classes, which would do the same exact thing without the false notion that it is something that should be always used for script.

        2. I see two links purporting to demonstrate that “research shows” the benefits of handwriting, one to the WSJ and another to a Psychology Today article. The WSJ article is generically about handwriting and doesn’t really mention cursive. The research cited in the PT article has nothing to do with handwriting, the author is just hypothesizing that the skills being tested by the study he cites could be improved by handwriting, and says at the end that more research should be done to see if this is the case.

          So I’m going to have to scoff at your assertion that “There is a lot of research that says cursive writing helps with overall mental development.”.

          1. So you’d side with the “education professor” writing in The New York Times?? You clown.

          2. I am limited in the number of links I can put in a single post. So have some more

            http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/m…..ng-cursive

            This one is from a professor of nuero science. But what would he know compared to you or a journalist or a Professor of education?

            Then of course there are the studies that show taking notes in cursive provide better retention than typing them.

            pss.sagepub.com/content/25/6/1159

            and Long hand means cursive not block printing.

            1. Aren’t all of these studies simply comparing the brain benefits of cursive vs other written communication while neglecting virtually any other activity which might achieve the same benefits?

              1. So what? Why does it have to be the only way to obtain benefits to be worthwhile?

            2. That’s the same PT article you just posted above! It still says the same thing I pointed out a second ago:

              I predict that new research would show that learning cursive will improve reading speed and will train the brain to have better hand-eye coordination.

              He predicts that research would show. You are revising that to “a lot of research shows”.

              1. No it is not the same article. And read the paper about note taking.

          3. Dr. Karen James, a psychologist at Indiana University featured in the New York Times article, used a scanner to observe brain activity in children as they wrote, traced and typed.

            She discovered that free hand writing lights up three areas of the brain ? the left fusiform gyrus, the inferior frontal gyrus and the posterior parietal cortex. When we type or trace letters, there is much less activity.

            Virginia Berninger, a psychologist at the University of Washington, offered even more insights in the article. Her studies proved that children who wrote compositions in cursive generated more words and ideas than children who typed. In fact, children writing in cursive generated more words and ideas than children who printed their compositions long hand as well.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cynthia…..40013.html

            So what do you have in response other than “WAAA I don’t like this”?

            1. Nothing says “authoritative” like a former English teacher writing in the Huffington Post.

              1. She is siting studies done by psychologists. It is not her opinion.

                And go read the studies on hand writing notes versus using a lap top. The best way to learn in a lecture is to take handwritten notes. How are kids supposed to do that if they don’t know cursive?

                Again, what do you have other than WAAAA I don’t like this?

                1. What kind of response do you want me to give to some links you lazily Googled and at best briefly skimmed?

                  In any event, I’m certainly open to the argument that there are certain mental skills that are developed by writing in cursive. Learning pretty much anything indirectly strengthens some mental faculty in some way. But there’s also no reason to believe that learning cursive, the actual practical value of which is basically zero, is the only or best way to strengthen these skills.

                  So what do you have besides WAAAA this is the way it’s always been done?

                  1. But there’s also no reason to believe that learning cursive, the actual practical value of which is basically zero,

                    No its not
                    The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard
                    Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking
                    Pam A. Mueller1
                    Daniel M. Oppenheimer2
                    1Princeton University
                    2University of California, Los Angeles
                    Pam A. Mueller, Princeton University, Psychology Department, Princeton, NJ 08544 E-mail: pamuelle@princeton.edu
                    Taking notes on laptops rather than in longhand is increasingly common. Many researchers have suggested that laptop note taking is less effective than longhand note taking for learning. Prior studies have primarily focused on students’ capacity for multitasking and distraction when using laptops. The present research suggests that even when laptops are used solely to take notes, they may still be impairing learning because their use results in shallower processing. In three studies, we found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand. We show that whereas taking more notes can be beneficial, laptop note takers’ tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning.

                    1. … we found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand…

                      Did they control for touch-typing vs. hunting-and-pecking? Hunting-and-pecking would certainly be more detrimental, as it is far slower and the users spends more time looking for the letters than actually listening and typing. Solid touch-typists can watch and listen to a speaker while typing nearly subconsciously. Personally, I can watch a presenter while typing a near transcript of the lecture, even catching and correcting mistakes without looking at my keys or screen. And, for me, I have much greater retention that way than when I am only listening to, not looking at, the presenter while I watch my paper and handwriting.

                  2. What evidence you have that it has no practical value other than you don’t like it? Are the PHDs from Princeton and UCLA just big Luddite meanies?

                    1. Well, I can’t blindly appeal to the authority of someone that went to Princeton like you can, I only have my own personal experience using both methods and seeing for myself which I got more value out of to draw from, so we may have to agree to disagree.

                    2. I am not a psychologist or neurologist. If it turns out to be the case that it does no good to take notes by hand, then kill off cursive. But from what I can see that is not the case. We need to teach kids the best way to learn.

                2. How are kids supposed to do that if they don’t know cursive?

                  Manuscript. Worked for me, and, anecdotally, others further up the thread, long before laptops were available.

      2. Is the same not accomplished by learning print or typing?

        Clearly not the *same*. IMO, the point isn’t the sameness but do you get *close enough* with less effort/more effort to direct elsewhere.

        Despite being artistic, I slogged through cursive, loathing every minute of it. Broodling No. 1 can read cursive but not write it. I look at all the other stuff he’s been exposed to scholastically in lieu of cursive and am disgusted with that portion of my elementary education. Discipline, especially in this regard IMO, quickly turns (or turned) into a tyranny of minutiae and ‘tales too long’ and ‘flattened curls’ ends up taking precedent over more valuable things that could be taught at that age like “What’s the thesis? Motivations? Who’s the protagonist/antagonist? etc.” You end up expending lots of effort to craft fine cuneiform without regard for any meaning.

    2. Learning latin grammar is a complete waste of time unless one wants to be a classics scholar. Sure, offer it as an elective if your school is big enough, but not at the expense of useful things like Spanish. Greek and Latin roots and vocabulary are useful, however.

      1. Plus, when you bust out Biblical passages in their original Greek, you’ll be marked as an educated man, and not some bum who only knows the vulgar Latin.

        1. Heh, Vulgate.

      2. Everybody should have a good grasp of English grammar, however.

        I found when I was learning foreign languages that having a good grasp of English grammar really helped. You need to know what a dependent clause is, for example, when it comes to German conjunctions. And antecedents help understand words like dessen

        (I’d also add that having learned German with its case structure really helped with Russian and its more complex case structure, as all the other students seemed behind the curve in trying to understand cases.)

    3. Yeah, but you can get that kind of discipline practicing anything.

  10. I learned my mutherfuckin cursive on the streets, y’all

    1. I learned and liked graffiti-style fonts faster and far more than cursive.

  11. If this trend is not enough to convince you cursive needs to go away, consider what Morgan Polikoff, assistant professor of education at the University of Southern California, wrote in The New York Times in 2013:

    Nothing says authoritative like an education professor writing in the New York Times.

    1. Nothing says “John” like ad hominem.

      1. If you are going to use a term, use it properly. The author was engaged in appealing to authority. Questioning that authority is no an ad hominem fallacy. I am not saying it is wrong because an education professor is saying it. That would be ad hominem. I am saying the fact that an education professor is saying it doesn’t make it right.

        1. My impression was that the author was just providing a reference for his quote, not that he was appealing to authority. The quote itself, regardless of who said it, makes some good points that the author did not make elsewhere in the article. Hence, why I assumed you were using ad hominem.

  12. I’ve lost my ability to write in cursive. I was never really great at it anyway.

    I kind of split the difference. Teach them cursive, teach them typing, let them turn in assignment however they want as long as it is legible.

    1. Makes sense to me.

      I’m more concerned about them actually learning to read it. If no one can read it anymore, I guess old, important documents written in cursive say whatever the top men say they say. Nomsayin?

      1. They are still teaching it and none of the kids can read it. And I mean even the nerdy bookworm types that work for me. We’ve had kids up and quit over having to read 19th C cursive.

      2. So, like, that justifies a class for History majors, sure. Not really sure why EVERYONE needs to know it…

        And I mean people with a passing interest in history will just learn to read it by themselves. Hell, I learned the elder futhark set of runes so I could read stuff for my side interests in history. But it being useful for some historical studies HARDLY justifies mandating kids learn the Elder Futhark in elementary school!!

        1. Look, school is going to be boring as fuck. Do you really care in which particular way the current generation of Lousianan children are bored? Any actual learning that goes on in schools is purely coincidental.

          1. Well Louisianans are just going to get killed by gators or hurricanes anyway, so for this specific case I’ll admit yeah, it’s just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

            1. Or gators AND hurricanes!!

              Someone call SyFy!! I have a movie pitch!!

    2. I’ve lost my ability to write in cursive

      same here, with a mild-qualification.

      I cover for it by claiming its “Shorthand” when people look at my notes in horror.

  13. As the world becomes more digital, why must students be taught an archaic skill?

    So that they can sign their name without it looking like a kindergartner’s printing? Or maybe so that they’ll be able to read cursive hand writing?

    1. Why should you care how good their signature is? Srsly?

      And in ten years everything will go to chip, PIN or biometrics anyway.

      Ever witnessed the signature for an illiterate person (like on a contract)? It’s fun. They basically have some type of “mark” they use and you have to sign an affadavit saying that yes, you witnessed Cletus Durkins make his mark on the contract.

      1. “Now remember, you can’t all sign with an ‘X.'”

      2. Why should you care how good their signature is? Srsly?

        I don’t know, maybe so I can fucking read it and tell whose name it is? Especially if I wasn’t physically present when they signed it.

        Disclaimer because it wasn’t clear: As a resident of the state of CO, I could give 2 shits what the LA public schools do or not choose to teach. The question asked by the headline was “…why must students be taught an archaic skill?” I was providing a couple of possible answers to that question.

      3. Why should you care how good their signature is?

        Back in ’92 – ’95, everything I had to sign while I was in the Navy, including request chits and log entries, had to be signed with my name printed below the signature. It took me five years after my discharge to break that habit. And even now, I still sometimes do it if my name has not previously been printed on the document.

    2. “So that they can sign their name without it looking like a kindergartner’s printing?”

      E-signatures will be phasing that one, solitary use out anyways. And is learning to sign your name really a thing that justifies this amount of classwork and the lies that come with the classwork (telling the students that cursive is important and used in college, which was the standard line in my school and a blatant lie that all the teachers knew was a lie)

      “Or maybe so that they’ll be able to read cursive hand writing?”

      Unless you’re into history, that’s a skill that won’t come up much, if at all. A specialized class for the people in the relevant field is all that is needed.

      1. Then why teach them to write at all? Do you admit there is any need for handwriting?

        1. Yes. But just because occasionally you need to write something down doesn’t justify learning Arabic Script, the most efficient (and unreadable) script around. My signature in cursive takes markedly longer than the couple of curvy lines I need to get it out in Arabic Script. But I still would NOT endorse Arabic Script for everyone because it, like cursive, sacrifices readability on the altar of efficiency.

          1. How do you take notes in class without writing them? Taking notes on a laptop isn’t as effective.

            The present research suggests that even when laptops are used solely to take notes, they may still be impairing learning because their use results in shallower processing. In three studies, we found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand. We show that whereas taking more notes can be beneficial, laptop note takers’ tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning.

            1. “isn’t as effective.”

              Thats not what it says.

              “laptop note takers’ tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning”

              That is what it says.

              Which is, the method of trnsxrition is not the issue, the failure to use similar processes when taking notes on a laptop may be detrimental.

              But all of those processes are possible on a laptop too, they just need to be employed.

              You’re utterly mischaracterizing tbe results youre posting.

            2. I took them in print. Just like everyone else in my college classes that took hand written notes took them in print.

      2. telling the students that cursive is important and used in college

        LOL. That reminds me of something. I wrote in cursive all the way through school. Then when I got to college and was going through my engineering courses, I was told by my professors NOT to use cursive because it was more important that the work be legible. I had some that said if they couldn’t read your chicken scratch, they’d just give you a zero and move on rather than waste their time trying to decipher shitty hand writing.

    3. No reason why it can’t be an elective.

      The main reason obsolete shit is taught at schools is because obsolete shit is teaching it.

      1. I could see that. Or if their parents think it’s really super important that their chillunz learn cursive, they could teach them at home. I knew someone in college whose dad had taught him to use a slide rule. Come to think of it, I remember my dad bitching about how no one could use a slide rule anymore, and me rolling my eyes thinking “Who gives a shit, old man, that’s what calculators are for.” Maybe cursive handwriting is just this generation’s slide rule. Which make me the old man. #GetOffMyLawn!

  14. Heh. My Elementary and Middle schools were HILARIOUS in retrospective.

    Middle School English Teacher: “In College, if you don’t write in cursive they will fail you!!”

    College Professor: “If you write in cursive, I will fail you.”

    1. Even in college in Kentucky in the 1980s, I couldn’t turn in a hand-written paper. And teacher’s often thanked me when I asked if it was OK to print on exams because everyone’s cursive was so shitty.

    2. I’m not going to fault the elementary schools for not being prescient. But certainly the idea that cursive is a preparatory skill is preposterous now.

      1. The thing is I wasn’t in school that long ago, and it wasn’t simply a matter of the teachers not be prescient. There was all of one teacher in Middle School who flat-out told us that no one in any college was using it anymore, and that the other teachers were just simply lying.

      2. No its not. The best way to take notes is by writing them. How are you supposed to take notes in class if you can only block print?

        1. “How are you supposed to take notes in class if you can only block print?”

          I did it for many years. Oh! I look over here at these notes beside me, and it seems I still do.

          John in Bo mode.

          1. That is too bad for you. If you could have taken them in cursive, like I did, you would have been able to take better notes.

            So because you didn’t like using cursive, you think schools shouldn’t teach it anymore?

            1. Why put words in my mouth John? I didn’t say I didn’t like cursive. I’m not very good at it and find that my writing is faster and more legible if I don’t use it. So, good for me.

              It is too bad for you that society adjusting to a changing world gets your hackles up and make you start barking at the moon.

            2. If you could have taken them in cursive, like I did, you would have been able to take better notes.

              It appears that your logic is that cursive is more efficient, enabling one to take more notes in cursive; erego, more notes are better. And that is simply not necessarily true. It is a very individual thing. I watched many student struggle while taking more notes (b/c that is how they were taught to take notes). Yet, me and several of my peers excelled while taking mnemonic notes (short phrases that paraphrased the topic and served as reminders). Manuscript worked just fine for that. Later, when I could touch-type near-transcriptions of lectures, my retention improved tremendously. I almost never needed (need) to review my notes for later examination. Handwritten notes I almost always had/have to review.

        2. If colleges and employers aren’t requiring it, it’s not preparatory. It is absolutely useful -, that’s why public schools either don’t want to teach it at all or they want to teach it to an exaggerated degree. To be a bureaucrat is to deny the concept of “dosage”.

  15. OCR can’t read cursive all that well. Keep it in mind for the Second Revolution.

    1. Exactly. Especially since the next generation of public employees won’t be able to read cursive.

        1. I don’t think the current generation of public employees can read, period.

  16. “As the world becomes more digital, why must students be taught an archaic skill?”

    Archaic? After we’re hit with the inevitable Electro-magnetic Pulse (EMP), you will be looking at your useless smart phone while I, smugly, have one of my orphans run a delivery order down to the nearest pizza parlor.

    1. Not using the orphans to write the letter for you. What are you, some kind of peasant??

    2. That is a fantastic plan, except…who is there able to read it?

  17. I recall my aunt was aghast when she learned that my school didn’t teach English cursive. So what if it’s a foreign language!

  18. Cursive is one of about 11 things an elementary school mind is capable of learning. Why not teach it?

    1. Futhorc script is one of about 11 things an elementary school mind is capable of learning. Why not teach it?

      1. indeed

  19. Really wonderful video about one of the last masters of penmanship. The art he produces, and the way he does it, is just incredible.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvSyQDu49pI

  20. What is it with the cursive G, anyway? I hate that I was taught to use that fucked-up blocky thing, because now it’s ingrained and part of my signature for the rest of my life.

  21. Insofar as education is being handled on a state level, I would rather my kid learns mechanically appropriate skills, like problem solving, arithmetic, and handwriting, than the BS indoctrination happening in virtually every humanities class. At the very least, it’s helping with hand-eye coordination and allows for the ability to read documents written in cursive. Kids are overschooled in a lot of ways anyhow- with negative returns (citation needed- this is conjecture)- I think a little bit of time in something that has no negative consequences is a pretty absurd thing to get upset about.

  22. I have to admit a certain prejudice with regards to this. When I was younger I aspired to write and actually wrote a fair number of short stories and one novel…in cursive with a fountain pen. I took great care and pride in my cursive writing and attempted to make the handwriting as much art as the stories themselves.

    Before anyone asks, the answer is no. I am not going to embarrass myself. The handwriting is great but the stories were crap. They are boxed up in the attic and haven’t seen the light of day for 35 years.

    Also, RA ruined my ability to write cursive. My writing really does look like chicken scratch now. Dammit.

    1. You should have written bodice-rippers.

  23. Uhhh… wat? Writing is done with keyboards. WTF? If I have to write anything with one of the ancient artifacts named pen or pencil, I just scrawl some squiggly lines. I do not participate in your ancient rituals, luddites.

  24. Why should we teach the concepts of freedom and personal responsibility when government is supposed to take care of us cradle to grave?

  25. As the country becomes more socialist, cursive will become a necessary skill. How many Cubans and North Koreans are able to type on an electronic ANYTHING?

    I’ll continue to use cursive because it is fast becoming the most secure form of communication. Y’all can continue to pursue 100% electronically surveilled writing at your peril.

    1. Anyone can read cursive if they try hard enough. REAL security nuts stick to viking runes!! Elder Futhark forever!!

    2. I’ll continue to use cursive because it is fast becoming the most secure form of communication.

      “You will know them by their strange writting” will be part of the Secret Police Training Manual.

      1. The bill of rights in Arabic.

        http://photos.state.gov/librar…..ARABIC.pdf

        1. Well, that’s just kinda cool.

  26. As the world becomes more digital, why must students be taught an archaic skill?

    Not knowing cursive is the ruin of all letters.

  27. As the world becomes more digital, why must students be taught an archaic skill?

    Because they can hardly write their name as it is. Plus Occupational Therapy, I guess.

    1. Christ, German words in cursive. Pretty sure I’d get a headache trying to read Freundschaftsbezeigungen in someone’s shitty cursive.

      1. That’s not a headache, you’re feeling your brain grow.

      2. Untermensch!

      3. Don’t you mean Freundschaftsbeziehungen? I don’t think Bezeigung is a German word.

        For some reason, if I have to write German, I use cursive, but print when I write English.

        Russian, on the other hand, is always cursive. 25 years ago when I was learning the language I was told that block printing in hand was only for signs; everybody wrote using the cursive letter forms. Not that I write much in Russian any more.

      4. Not that hard. Germans managed it for centuries.

  28. Serious question: How do “modern” STEM students take notes in classes dripping with mathematical notation?
    LaTeX on their iPads?

    1. I’m not a STEM student (Econ) but there’s enough notation-mainly Greek letters-that is difficult to quickly produce on a computer so I hand write all my notes.

    2. They record the class, take notes/screengrabs later.

      1. Rather inefficient really. But the world is full of shitty engineers already, so nothing new.

      2. I know my roommate’s Bio and Chem professors would post the slides from class online and he would copy down the information.

    3. I hand-wrote most of my notes. But I used print, not cursive.

      That said, in my last couple of years I did get a laptop. It had “Microsoft OneNote” on it, which allowed me to use the mouse to draw mathematical notation quickly and easily then go back to typing. I imagine with current tablets it’s even easier to mix and match scrawled in diagrams/equations with typed text.

    4. Some of my friends had LaTeX and did take notes that way. Most of us just hand wrote the notes in print. Easier to draw pictures to illustrate a point that way.

  29. The argument that we should teach kids cursive because of the ubiquity of electronics strikes me as the same acceptance of ignorance that we’d should not concentrate on multiplication and addition tables because of calculators. There is a certain measure of self-reliance being thrown away here.

    1. The fight against cursive is really a plot of the educational-industrial complex to get more taxpayer money for electronic toys because the economically disadvantaged students won’t have access to computerized keyboards 24/7.

    2. Pretty much that. Why people want to let machines make them and their children stupid is beyond me.

    3. That only makes sense if you aren’t teaching them to write at all, rather then just not teaching them to write in a specific style.

  30. The #1 reason cursive is being dropped isn’t because it’s cursive, it’s because it’s penmanship. Teaching penmanship, whether it be cursive, printing, etc. requires telling the students when their doing shitty. The self-esteem movement put the kibosh on that. And it others the left-handed in a left-to-right reading culture.

    1. Feel free to tell me how shitty I am to use their in place of they’re.

      1. You are very, very shitty.

    2. Or that no one gives a shit that students have shitty penmanship. 150 years ago, in order to be considered an educated gentleman or lady, one had to be able to skillfully dance the quadrille. I bet you are shitty at the quadrille; knowing that, do you give a shit?

      1. Being shitty at it and not being taught it are two different things. (and yes, my elementary school did teach some dance.)

        1. Being shitty at it and not being taught it are two different things.

          No doubt. But the operative term is “not giving a shit”. Schools don’t teach a lot of things they used to, and that’s mainly because no one gives a shit about them anymore.

          For a less shitty explication of my point, I refer you to the classic essay, “The Saber-Tooth Curriculum. That is, if you give a shit to read it.

          1. Don’t give a shit to read it. Schools do a lot of stupid shit, probably their main function. A few hours of penmanship in 3rd grade is probably one of the few non-pointless things in school. Naturally the teacher’s union is against it.

          2. I bet if you polled students and parents, the vast majority of them don’t give a shit about history and see no use for it once they leave school.

            Why learn history when you can just google it if you don’t know something? What is the point of wasting your time learning it when the internet alleviates the need to have an immediate recall of facts?

            Would you support killing off history too? At this point, maybe the schools should teach typing and HTML. What else do kids really need to know?

            1. Yes, I am strongly in favor of removing history from state-funded and run schools. History operates as propaganda in that context, and the variety, tenor, and context of today’s “history” classes directly informs the progressive idiotology.

            2. Would you support killing off history too?

              I didn’t say that I didn’t give a shit about penmanship or history. Just that a great deal of people do.

          3. “Schools don’t teach a lot of things they used to, and that’s mainly because no one gives a shit about them anymore.”

            Yeah, stuff like non-Howard-Zinn history and the text of the Constitution, for example.

            1. Zinn’s “textbook” doesn’t pass the laugh test.

      2. The quadrille seems to be like a 19th-century macarena

      3. This calls for a twerking video!

    3. They don’t have grades anymore?

  31. I’m a little surprised by how much bitching and moaning is going on in this comment thread by people on both sides of the issue. Who knew that whether or not teaching cursive handwriting would be such a hot button issue? Perhaps I’ve got my priorities mixed up. Here I am worrying about the ~$20 trillion dollars in debt, the continuing trampling of our individual rights by the government, and the ongoing shitshow that our foreign policy is, but clearly the most important question of our time is “should kids be forced to learn cursive in school.” /sarc

    1. People on here get riled up about two things; cursive and dicks. The dick threads are even more brutal than this.

    2. I don’t have a problem with teaching it in schools. It’s good to know. I don’t, however, think that years of penmanship class is a very good use of time in school. Of course, half of the shit that goes on in school is a waste of time, so maybe it doesn’t matter.

      1. Every minute spent teaching penmanship is a minute not spent teaching socialist propaganda.

        1. That sounds like the best reason yet to teach it.

      2. Think of it this way Zeb, if you had to bet would you bet that the schools take the time they were using to teach cursive and will teach something useful or do you think they will take that time and teach more nonsense?

        1. Yes, I suppose I am being a bit idealistic. Public schools would probably just waste time in worse ways.

          But if I were king of the world, I’d spend a few months teaching it to third or fourth graders so they know what it is and how it works and let them develop their skills as they see fit beyond that.

      3. It depends on what is meant by cursive being “incorporated” into the twelfth grade. If it just means teachers should encourage students to write their essays in cursive, whatever. If it means actually devoting class time to practicing cursive… give me a fuckin’ break.

        Still, the bigger issue is that it’s micromanaging charter schools’ curricula. That should be criticized.

        1. If it just means teachers should encourage students to write their essays in cursive […]
          Um no, that’s problematic. Because in 12th grade, they should be typing their essays. The only time it’s justifiable to require hand-written essays in high school is if it’s an in-class thing (like the ACTs/SATs or something).

      4. I don’t, however, think that years of penmanship class is a very good use of time in school

        Maybe you’re older than me (born in 1976) but I didn’t have “years of penmanship” classes. I vaguely recall being taught to print in either kindergarten or first grade, and then being taught cursive in 3rd or 4th grade, but after that grade, I don’t recall teachers spending much, if any, time on “penmanship.” Maybe that’s why I fail to see the big deal one way or the other.

        Although, again, thinking back to my childhood, I remember my mom in particular bitching about how horrible my handwriting was and lamenting that they apparently didn’t teach me proper penmanship (even though I definitely was taught cursive, they just didn’t waste much time on it). My dad kept his mouth shut on that topic because his handwriting was worse than mine.

    3. Number 6: [referring to the chess game] Why do you use people?
      Chessmaster: Some psychiatrists say it satisfies the desire for power. The only opportunity one gets here.
      Number 6: That depends what side you’re on.
      Chessmaster: [quickly] I’m on my side.
      Number 6: [quickly] Aren’t we all.
      Chessmaster: You must be new here. In time, most of us join the enemy ? against ourselves.

    4. Clearly the problem is public school itself.

  32. I can’t really remember but it seems like learning to write cursive only took one year. Third grade maybe? Once you’re shown how the letters are formed it’s just practice. It’s not rocket science.

    1. Yea. And we learned typing from Mavis Beacon when the teacher didn’t want to do anything. People on here are acting like 8-year-olds practicing cursive is cutting into the topology lectures.

      1. You called it Sidd. All of the stupid shit that schools do, these dumb asses think teaching kids how to write is one of the things to stop doing.

    2. 3rd grade, Sister Irma Delorata, Palmer method.

  33. They forced cursive on me for three years, and it never got legible. Sure I can write 5% faster than printing, but I won’t be able to read it later.

    Took 4 years worth of college notes in print. Never had a problem.

    1. I never took notes. I paid attention instead.

      I’m not bragging, it’s just what works best for me. But 20 years ago I got a negative mark on an employee review for not taking notes. Had to tell the person “I don’t take notes because you never once said anything of any value whatsoever. Say something useful that isn’t blindingly obvious already and I’ll probably take notes.”

  34. Great rebuttal.

    http://www.wbms.org/blog/handw…..e-vs-print

    1. The only argument anyone seems to have for killing it is that “it is not needed”. Meanwhile, there is at least some evidence that it is beneficial for kids to learn.

      I don’t see how you the side that wants to kill it wins the argument. All they have is “no one uses it”. Yes people do use it and since when does that matter when there are benefits of learning it.

  35. I was learning cursive in first grade twenty years ago. I retained very little of it due to lack of use in my subsequent education.

    In any case I’m hopelessly left-handed so I always resented penmanship instruction in school. As long as I write slowly and legibly what does it matter how my letters look or how I hold the damn pen/pencil?

    1. FTA: “The measure requires public schools, including charter schools, to introduce cursive writing instruction by third grade. Instruction will have to continue through 12th grade.”

      12th grade? Why not mandate LSU offer a BA in the subject? Presuming they don’t already…

  36. I think there is a team red grievance group in the making here. The problem with left-handed cursive writing is that you run the butt of your fist over the un-dried ink.

    Finally, we have a cause where lefties can unite against big government !

    1. This is why a lot of lefties basically write upside down. And don’t get me started on how all the desks were made for righties.

      1. Why would you write left-handed? I’m left-hand-dominant (throwing, bowling, PUNCHING), and I write and eat right-handed. The nail that sticks up gets hammered.

  37. Most people I know think history is a worthless subject and hated it in school. Should we kill that too? If the standard is “we don’t need to do that, we don’t like it, and we have machines that do it for us anyway”, what reason is there to teach kids history? If they want to know it, they can google it just like if they need to write, they can type it.

    1. Bark at that moon John. BARK!

    2. That’s how I understand it…..since when did “you have to know this” factor into it? Excellent example with history. Or most other subjects. Just teach people how to type on keyboards and phones, how to google, and send them off into the world. That would be about age 8. Then they can take a break decade instead of a break year before starting their SJW-ing in college.

    3. Most people I know think history is a worthless subject and hated it in school. Should we kill that too?

      Considering that what is taught in history is generally either cherry-picked, white-washed, or revised to prove a point or push an agenda, absolutely!

    4. Schools don’t typically teach history, science, math, or any of these other subjects. At least, not on any significant level. Schools are mostly just rote memorization factories that pump out thousands of losers, give them pieces of paper, and then send them forth into the real world, while pretending that all that somehow qualifies as an education. Most of the facts that the students rote memorized will be quickly forgotten, and actually having a deep understanding of the subject is almost never encouraged. Really, there are few things that schools do successfully beyond teaching people the bare minimum of what they need to function (basic math, reading and writing, etc.), and even then they are quite inefficient at it.

      I am not opposed to teaching history and such, but the quality of education people receive from a grand majority of schools is simply laughable. I’m certainly not convinced that cursive improves the situation by any significant extent.

  38. Wernstrom: “A-minus? No one gives Ogden Wernstrom an A-minus!”
    Farnsworth: “I’m sorry, but penmanship counts.”

  39. Are we counting votes? Bah humbug. Teach cursive. And stay off my lawn.

  40. How about, so they can read it? Seriously, I have to call bullshit on this perspective. I wonder how the author copes when the power goes out.

    1. When the power goes out, Jon Lester just lights a candle, whips out his quill, and gets back to muthafuckin work.

      Then when the power comes back on he’ll transcribe all those email replies into outlook.

  41. Not teaching to write cursive? Sounds fine.
    Not teaching to read cursive? Sorry, there’s too many important historical documents that’s going to cause problems with. And sure, you can always go to someone’s transcription of it, but Americans should be able to read our founding documents directly and not have to rely on third parties.

  42. It isn’t useless. Written signatures are still needed on all kinds of documents, and I’m not sure that “print” lettering will always be acceptable. Plus, there are lots of old letters people may find, and it would be a shame if they were unable to read them. I wouldn’t use cursive for a shopping list, but lots of older adults do (especially women, in my experience), so why not enable students to read it? At a minimum, they should be able to sign their names, and to read ordinary text in cursive, even if they can’t write it.

    1. I have signed all my contracts over the last 3 years with NitroPDF. I don’t read them.

      widget, you idiot, you should read them!

      No pay, no work. Why bother?

  43. “Putting pen to paper stimulates the brain like nothing else, even in this age of e-mails, texts and tweets. In fact, learning to write in cursive is shown to improve brain development in the areas of thinking, language and working memory. Cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres, something absent from printing and typing.” From the New York Times.

    Personally, I think the digital age just made a bunch us a bunch of lazy people who just don’t want to take the time to learn a new skill. It will be sad to have the new generation grow up and not be able to read our own Constitution or other historical documents.

    1. Technology didn’t make humans lazy, it enables us to be our natural lazy selves. As it has since the plow, since the cotton gin, since the horseless carriage, and on into today.

    2. It will be sad to have the new generation grow up and not be able to read our own Constitution or other historical documents.

      They’ve all been transcribed into Arial, Times New Roman, etc. so that really isn’t a concern.

  44. “To deprive our students of not knowing how to write cursive, no less read cursive,”

    NEEDZ MOAR NEGATIVE

    1. More cursive?

  45. because better and more efficient methods of writing?such as typing?have become popular.

    Or, you know, simply handwritten. There’s nothing about cursive that makes it faster or better looking (which is subjective anyway) compared to printing. Its simply a matter of practice.

  46. I’m already having to certify/witness illegible scrawls on the signature line.

    Using my own legible signature.

    Cursive at least teaches the kids to create a legible legal signature.

  47. “OMG, people won’t be able to read old timers’ shopping lists or the Constitution if public schools don’t teach them cursive.”

    It’s not like it’s actually Arabic or Sanskrit, the characters aren’t THAT different than latin print. If people really need to read some cursive they can google it up and be reading those old documents in short order.

    “Ohhh, but slide rules herp a derp de derp”

    As long as we’re still teaching kids to do math on paper I’m ok with forgetting about the slide rule.

  48. It is interesting how a number of people cite piss-poor studies about how cursive supposedly improves people’s skills in certain other areas, but then a lot of these same people would ordinarily reject such studies. Much of this type of research suffers from a lack of rigor, a lack of objectivity, logic errors, and so on. I have no reason to take such drivel seriously.

    But regardless of whether or not learning cursive actually has these benefits, the government shouldn’t be in the business of forcing schools to teach it.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.