My colleague is wrong: NJ kids don’t need cursive (Opinion)
I read with great interest my colleague Nicole Murray’s take on the death of cursive writing. I could have read it in cursive. Yes, I'm not a kid.
But kids today in ever-increasing numbers are not being taught how to write in cursive in school anymore. New Jersey no longer has the requirement and if a local district decides on its own to teach cursive it's often done only for one or two years and then never again.
Nicole's point was mostly about what a shame this is because kids today are growing up unable to have a signature as we know it. But does it really matter?
Let's face it. Most people's signatures are illegible anyway. If a scribble suffices as a signature you can create one. There are countless legal documents that require a signature that now use an e-signature. If you ever used Turbo Tax then you've likely signed this way.
A signature is no longer the most trustworthy means of identification. Your phone unlocks with facial recognition. Your laptop and gun safe may open with your thumbprint.
As technology advances, school work is being done on Chromebooks and tablets and handwritten assignments are becoming a thing of the past.
In the adult world, it's the same. Screens have replaced the need for cursive. If you can read the printed word you are fine.
Now there are those who argue that without being able to read and write cursive you'll never be able to read our country's founding documents. The Declaration of Independence. The Constitution.
How many people are really looking at the originals even now? All these documents have been translated into printed text and are available everywhere. Did you read the Bible in original Aramaic or Hebrew? It’s OK. The founding fathers’ documents translate just fine.
Now there are educators who will point out that science shows the process of cursive writing is good for neurological development and can improve focus and learning. Are there not other fine motor skills that can achieve the same?
We don’t deal with calligraphy anymore. Did life go on just fine? Yes. We’re still communicating. Technology is obviating cursive.
I feel ultimately the real problem people have with the death of cursive is simply letting go of the past. To hear what you were taught in 4th grade is now so unimportant that the world no longer needs it might make you feel old. Nostalgia has a strong hold on the human heart. We will communicate just fine without cursive. If you think I’m wrong you can always complain to your local school district.
But I’ll bet you’ll do it by email.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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