Is Cursive Obsolete?

By: Kristen Paquet, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.
During a recent visit to my third grader’s new classroom to meet her teacher and drop off her school supplies (also called “dump the junk” day), I was surprised to learn that this may be one of the last years that her school will be teaching cursive writing. It’s not a huge surprise to me – kids have grown up using advances in technology that I never had – but I have to say I was still somewhat shocked that it could be so obsolete that educators wouldn’t see a value in teaching penmanship anymore.
If you think about it, kids really don’t write too many things down anymore. Everything is composed at a computer, like this blog, or in a text 4COL (for crying out loud)! If I write a note in cursive, my kids can’t understand all the words. My son loves to write stories and even though he was taught how to write in cursive, he prints everything and then asks to use the computer to type it out. Both of my kids are more aware of the tools available in Word than they are with how to write the tricky letter “z” correctly in cursive.
I have to admit that I was one to hold on to writing things out long hand. In grad school I would write out my papers by hand – in cursive, I might add – and then type them out at the computer. I just had trouble composing at a blank computer screen. But, I eventually conformed and once I started drafting things at the computer, it became a natural way of doing things.
Weighing the pros and cons, I’m not so sure that it’s a big deal that our children are able to write in cursive if the chances are less and less that they will really use it. Maybe that class time could be devoted to other subjects. I mean, I don’t hear anyone complaining that we don’t teach calligraphy anymore so maybe it’s just time for a change.
So is it a big deal for our kids to learn cursive? Will they use it in their everyday life if they do learn it?