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Tamika Sayles Headshot

Cursive Handwriting is Still a Practical Necessity

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As a distinguished African-American member of Generation Y, I vow to uphold the rules and principles of cursive handwriting. I will slant my T's and curve my S's with full intention of entering the real world with a sense of written accomplishment and distinction among members of my generation. I wish! In all seriousness, the art of cursive handwriting among students is disappearing at an alarming rate.

For the past year or so, I've been following the cursive handwriting debate with great content. There's a growing debate against the teaching of cursive handwriting in classrooms in favor of computer proficiency. In fact, forty-four states have decided to omit cursive handwriting from the mandatory curriculum; with Hawaii being the most recent. The omission of cursive handwriting from the mandatory curriculum is part of the National Core Standard, which is "a set of education standards that omit cursive but includes keyboard proficiency." While, I love the idea of computer proficiency, I am against the idea of omitting cursive handwriting from the mandatory curriculum. After all, how are students going to conduct business in the real world, if they can't properly sign their name on a contract or write a check? I'm living proof what will happen. As a student I was never formally taught cursive handwriting and now as an adult, unfortunately, I am faced with the repercussions.

Speaking from personal experience:

The ability to read and write cursive handwriting was neither a requirement nor necessity in grade school. In fact, all my papers were written in print, and once computers became popular, all my papers were typed. This trend continued well into high school, at which point, I was beginning to write checks. Instead of teaching myself how to write in cursive I proceeded to focus on studies, I thought, would make me more marketable to colleges. It became apparent that colleges were much more focused on grade point average and the number of advanced classes I completed. And I was right... my shift in focus proved to be beneficial. But, I was still lacking practical skills such as cursive handwriting.

Don't get me wrong, I received a superior education from all the schools I attended, and while I'm well aware that much of high school and college is geared toward higher education, I think it would helpful to place some importance on practical skills such as cursive handwriting (especially in the early years of grade school). It will certainly be benefical for students to learn how to conduct business (writing checks, signing contacts, etc.) If schools intend to prepare students for the real world, wouldn't the insertion of practical skills such as cursive writing be the prefect prerequisite?

I must admit, I'm starting to feel the string of not knowing how to properly write in cursive. With the insertion of checks, contracts, and legal documents in the adult world I am having to rely on self-taught cursive skills, which aren't the greatest. As a professional African-American woman with a degree under my belt, the ordeal can be quite frustrating and intimating at times, which is why I believe that students should at least have the option of formally learning cursive handwriting. I had none. Unfortunately, I was forced to acquire these skills on my own. While I believe that technology is a strong contender in the classroom, as well as the real world, we need not forget about practical skills such as cursive handwriting that can also prove to be beneficial in the real world. After all, there's nothing worst then not knowing how to properly sign one's name. Believe me, I've been there.

What is your take on the cursive debate?