Press-Republican

Columns

November 20, 2011

Cursive is the right way to write

This is an obituary. The demise of cursive writing is imminent. If you are surprised, read on.

I'm a media fan and spend time reading, listening to and watching news on myriad topics. I've been noting the slow death of cursive for years. Granted, the mandated teaching of cursive writing in American schools might not equal the importance of other things, but I believe it deserves more general notice before it's gone.

My understanding is that 44 states have rendered teaching cursive writing "optional." Further, those states that make it mandatory have cut back to little more than that of a passing fancy. Many teachers insist they simply don't have time to spend on something so trivial given the demands of the so-called "Common Core State Standards for English" curriculum.

When was last time you wrote something on paper in cursive with a pencil or pen? I was stunned with one answer from a young adult who said, "Oh, I haven't used cursive since fourth grade." Another said, "I don't even use cursive to sign my name." I received 98 wonderful handwritten letters from bright students at a school I visited recently. Eighty were printed, 17 were in cursive, and one was half-and-half. The sentiments were wonderful, but I realized their lives have gone digital.

I was raised as a preacher's kid (PK) and was force-fed scripture verses with my pabulum. The phrase "handwriting on the wall" is Biblical in origin. Specifically, it comes from the Old Testament book of Daniel. In the King James version, we read: "In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote." Sounds like old King Belshazzar could be the subject to some cool paranormal activity, doesn't it? None of the king's best astrologers could understand the handwriting on the wall. Perhaps it was done in cursive, which hadn't yet been invented. Along came Daniel, who interpreted the handwriting, telling the king he wasn't humble enough and would be overthrown. Sure enough, he was killed that very night.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg Old movies offer more than entertaining TV

    Columnist Susan Tobias and her husband, Toby, are reminded of simple childhood memories while watching an old black-and-white movie.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time