April 14, 2013

Locals divided about need for cursive


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Local people have strong opinions about lessons in cursive writing being replaced by keyboarding in some schools.

The Press-Republican asked Facebook readers what they thought of the idea, and we received more than 70 replies.

Here’s a sampling of opinion:

Carlos Sauceda: “Well, schools have been also making our kids more tech savoy and dependent on calculators for math.even in college! I was appalled!! Our technology will be our undoing ... we will lose our humanity little by little...and then we will end up like the people on wall-e or worse.”

Cindy Geppner: “Not every job is meant to do with a computer. It would be nice if our children could still sign a birthday card or write a thank-you note. It would be terrible if every direction at every job had to be computer generated and not handwritten. Let’s not throw away something that works the world over.”

Rachel Carter: “So I guess they won’t ever learn how to fill out a check or sign their own name on a credit-card slip. Already sick of ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Happy Birthday’ messages through e-mail. NOTHING beats something handwritten.”

Jamie Durivage: “Curriculum should be based on its functionality and relevance ... not on nostalgia. ... I believe many of you in opposition to this change are thinking that this means the end of writing.. That’s not what I’m saying.. I’m saying cursive, which is merely a style of writing, is outdated ... Since man has been here, our communication has evolved.. How many of you can read cave paintings or hieroglyphs? ... Ask yourself this.. What job requires cursive handwriting? How many require knowing how to use a keyboard?”

Shari Arena: “My son is in kindergarten, and they don’t teach cursive. Computer lab has taken its place since the first week in school. We don’t need cursive, and doing both is a waste of time for teachers. If you want your child to learn it, teach them!”

Bert Supernaw: “Do we still teach Cuneiform and Linear A or B to each of our grade-school children? I’m hoping not. To be efficient in the office or technical workplace, proper and fluent typing should be as effortless as breathing. Block print is sufficient to the base needs of school instruction. The days of secretaries hand-scribing pages and letters is long past. Evolve, or we go the way of the dodo. If you would like your child to know Cursive, Calligraphy, Tangut or whatever, feel free to teach them at home like a responsible parent.”

Michelle Fournier-Dyke: “I was a technical writer for years. Cursive writing is what an adult will need the majority of the time when not keyboarding because cursive writing is much faster than printing. My kids hardly got any time spent on cursive in school following learning how to print. I’m embarrassed for them when I see them sign a card and now have to try to catch them up myself. Next up is the lack of learning spelling, which helps build vocabulary (this is why i don’t buy into spell check only.) We need to bring the basics back to the schools so they can build on these skills and move up to the tech stuff.”

Phyllis Klein: “Those who ask whether cursive writing or technology should be taught in school are asking the wrong question. The right question is how do we continue to teach both so that our students are properly prepared to communicate. There are many reasons why we should continue to teach cursive writing; here are the most important.

  1. Cursive writing helps students develop fine motor skills;
  2. Handwriting stimulates parts of the brain linked to learning to read;
  3. Writing in cursive may help students retain material as evidenced by recent research on college students;
  4. Some experts believe that cursive writing can reduce tendencies among early readers to transpose letters;
  5. Cursive writing is historically important. Original documents have been produced in cursive for several generations.

We understand the need to use the keyboard since technology plays such a large role in our lives; nonetheless, your written signature is as unique as your smile. Let’s keep both!”

Ann MacAbee: “Have you ever really looked at a historical document?Even knowing cursive makes it difficult to read!”

James Bishop: “Education must change and evolve with demand. There are lots of useful tools that were once commonly taught but have since been tossed aside. How many people can fix a flat tire or change the oil in their car? Is balancing a checkbook still taught in school as it was in early 2000? I learned cursive in grade school just to attend a top engineering university which would only accept assignments in uppercase print. The foreign language that would be most beneficial to your child’s future might just be Java, C++, or MatLab instead of French, German, or cursive.”