A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.





Friday, March 14, 2014

The Loss of Longhand



Camera Girl at East Gwillimbury Blog had a post yesterday that reminded me of a news article I read in our local paper.  In her post she wrote that cursive writing has been removed from the school curriculum in at least two Canadian provinces and some forty U.S. states.

Here is the news item that reminded me of:

Carol Guanella came home from the bookstore with her head still shaking.  She'd gone to the Barnes & Noble in downtown Santa Rosa to buy a friend a gift of the book on the historic victories and principled sacrifices of the University of San Francisco's 1951 football team. Guanella had written down the name of the author and the title: Kristine Setting Clark, “Undefeated, Untied, and Uninvited.”  The mother and grandmother approached a young sales associate, told her she was looking for a particular book and handed her the paper.  “She looked at the note,” Guanella said, “and she said, 'You'll have to read it to me. I don't read cursive.'”

After I got over my initial amazement of what I had just read I found it a very sad statement to our ever deteriorating educational system.  In her post Camera Girl added "Does that mean future generations won't be able to read old postcards found in antique shops and letters found in the attic?"  I had not thought about that.  Will there be a day in the distant future that trying to make sense of cursive writing will be much like how it was for us trying to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics?

Later that day I was writing out a check to the DMV for my motorcycle license and registration.  I wondered if young people of today even know how to write out a check?



11 comments:

  1. A reminder that in the end everything disappears in history but I admit it is a sad example that somebody working in a bookshop can't read cursive anymore.

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  2. I agree with SC, a sad case when people can't read this anymore. I was the first in the family who learned writing in connected block letters and not cursive. My brother and sister had learned the cursive.

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  3. I guess it is an evolution, times change, new principles replace old ones within the education system, generations see things so differently too. Light upstroke and heavy downward stroke, following the slope card under our pages, have seemingly become a thing of the past.

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  4. 'i don't read cursive' - really? it's that difficult? i guess because i've always sprinkled printed letters and cursive into the same words, it doesn't seem that different.

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  5. My kids are 17 and 14 and are probably among the last of children who learned cursive in grade school. Despite having learned it, they never use it, and they have trouble reading it. It really is kind of sad when you think about it. My son loves old postcards and letters in antique stores, and often I wind up having to help him read them.

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  6. I think perhaps it was the sales associate. I sure hope cursive writing never goes away. That would be really sad.

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  7. This actually happened to me last year. I wrote out in cursive an 8th grade student’s assignment, and he just sat there and did nothing. Finally, after a bit of fussing by me and insisting that he get to work, he informed me he could not read my writing...he said he could not read cursive. I was shocked. I knew the schools in our area were no longer teaching it, but it was the first time I had met up with someone who could not read or write it. Unbelievable and so sad if your ask me.

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  8. My writing is too ugly to even attempt it anymore.

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  9. I'm thinking if any of us oldsters want to make some pin money we can offer to become tutors of cursive writing. :))

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  10. «Louis» recently had a similar experience with a clerk who "can't read cursive".

    A question for the heavily-unionized "education" establishment: "Are you proud of what you've done to our school children?"

    When «Louis» had his espresso shop in Albany, he hired some of the local high school kids. People move to Albany because it has the reputation of having one of the best school systems in California. (Thus housing costs in Albany are quite high.)

    «Louis» was shocked at what he saw in those kids: they couldn't read, they couldn't write, they couldn't spell, they couldn't think critically, they knew nothing of our Constitution - BUT - they knew all about how "evil" capitalism is and how the U.S. "has been the oppressor" across the globe.

    Like most public schools today, the Albany schools really aren't schools but indoctrination camps - and if Albany schools are among the best in California, «Louis» shudders to think about what is coming out of the worst schools. He didn't have to look far for the answer: Richmond and Oakland being two at-hand examples...

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  11. I was talking to my retired school teacher friend about this very subject the other day. Several years ago I noted that when I would get something in 'writing' from a young person, sometimes it was in cursive and sometimes it was printed. Now I don't know any young people that actually write in cursive. I mentioned this to my friend and was shocked when she said that many of the schools are eliminating cursive from the curriculum.

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