25 January 2011

One more step toward idiocracy

A topic on the radio this morning concerned a move to remove the teaching of cursive writing from the curriculum of schools in 40 of the 50 states. You can read a story on it here.
One woman called the station. Her son was getting his driver's license when the DMV rep asked for his signature. Seems a 16-year old kid didn't have a clue how to sign his name. His mom actually had to write his name in cursive so he could copy that.

You gotta be kidding me. Welcome to the 1800s. Put your 'X' on the line.

Most children going to school these days use computers and texting for communications and to do their schoolwork. There aren't that many people these days that probably sit down to handwrite a paper. Those that do most likely print. I mostly print. 25 years of being a draftsman-and doing lots and lots of lettering by hand once upon a time-brought that on.

The educators who think teaching cursive is a waste of time need to consider that most places still require a real, honest-to-God signature for most official documents. And the next generation or two will only be able to sign with 'X''s. A nation of 300 million medieval peasants.

Seems to me that learning cursive writing is one of those skills that we shouldn't be so quick to dump, along with learning to do basic math by hand, without a calculator. You might not ever perform that particular function on a particular day-but those skills will still work after the power goes out.

Sometimes I hear things like this and just shake my head. I can't help but think that perhaps filmmaker Mike Judge might well have a bit of prophet in him:

yankeedog out.


  1. From time to time I find someone, a young person, who cannot write cursive much less anything very legible. Often what they write is in that text slang.

  2. It's not just a means of communication, it's a fine motor skill that translates to a bunch of other stuff. Dumb, dumb idea to bone it.

  3. FKN HELL!.

    Its way to important to ditch for all the reasons you, and doc have covered. I'm simply fkn stunned to be honest, but not surprised. I have already noticed with both my boys...just how little attention schools pay to hand writing and we have had to push them at home to ensure they can WRITE!...its a fkn travesty and fkrs need capping over it!

  4. Word! :) Dr Y wtf? Mtr skl? Hvk - fkn cap sum. YD 4 Prez! lol

  5. Mind you the perpose of a signature on a document is used to validate your exposure to the document. Given the move to more electronic forms of documentation perhaps soon we should look to a better way to identify biometically that we have read and 'signed' the docuement. A thumbprint scanned, or rentinal trace.

    More concening for me is the number of people who sign a docuement, with flowing cursive or X that do not read the whole document or worse read and do not understand the document. Look at some of the phone plans folk have signed.

  6. 'Storm-One wonders if eventually the language will devolve into one of pictograms based on textspeak. Could happen.

    Doc-Hadn't thought of that, but it's true-it does help with manual dexterity. I'm not sure if thumbing a keyboard will do the same thing.

    Havock-Good for you, making sure the kids know how to write in cursive. They still need that skill. If the schools won't do much with it, it's up to the parents.

    Therbs-LOL! L8r.

    Barnesy-We'll have to come up with something. The thumbprint idea is probably the most practical. Seems like a complicated solution to a simple problem. Take the time and teach the kids cursive.