Editorial: Writing on wall for cursive?

  • Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 12:11 a.m.

There are some good reasons to require all elementary students to master cursive writing, as would be mandated under the “Back to Basics” bill recently introduced in the N.C. Legislature. Cursive writing is a traditional means of expression, one that engages fine motor skills while encouraging a more deliberative thought process than occurs when fingers are flying across a computer keyboard, according to some neuroscientists. Indeed, there was a time — long past — when flowing penmanship was considered the mark of a well-educated person.

However, things start to blur with one of the other arguments advanced — that cursive proficiency will improve communications between grandparents and younger generations. Americans aged 65 and up have rapidly adapted to the digital age. A majority of them use the Internet and email, according to a Research Center poll. It also found that 38 percent of adult social media users are 65 or older. Wonder how many of them still write letters in longhand?

Certainly, most of us appreciate a handwritten birthday note, thank-you card or love letter. But it’s not just the younger crowd who’re losing any penchant for penmanship. Adults have abandoned cursive in favor of the cursor — and a legislative mandate isn’t going to reverse that trend.

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