New Hampshire Bulletin reports that our legislative body, realizing that we need an educated workforce to tackle the opportunities of the 21st century, are mandating that teachers take time out of the school day to ensure that kids have mastered communication technologies from the 19th century. The full article is here.
House Bill 170 … would require all schools to teach cursive handwriting and multiplication tables by the end of fifth grade. Currently, the law only encourages them to do so. Arguments from supporters include this one from Rep. Rick Ladd, a Haverhill Republican and former educator: How will people read the original version of the U.S. Constitution if they don’t understand its cursive handwriting?
Next they plan to mandate classes in calculating with an abacus; the difference between bushels, pecks and other measures of dry weight; and shoeing horses.
I have an antique 6th grade math book. It may have covered bushels, etc. It had an emphasis on bookkeeper skills necessary to help run Ma and Pa’s retail store.
Those are likely better skills that writing in cursive these days.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen the original of the US Constitution, though I’ve seen reproductions. I also know where I can find versions where I can cut ‘n’ paste parts I need to copy. They won’t let me do that to the original.
And no, you can’t have my slide rule!
When I was in elementary school in the mid 1970s, I learned to write cursive, and I’m glad I did. In recent years, I have met children as well as high school students that not only were unable to write cursive, they could barely write print-letters; these days, some college students struggle to read!
Thousands of years ago when people began developing handwriting–even if pressing reeds into clay to write cuneiform–it caused them to organize their thoughts more elaborately, and to also develop critical thinking skills.
So, I believe students should learn to write (and read) cursive. I would also like it if legislators would ban the use of the word “like” in daily speech (e.g. slanguage) unless it is used only as a transitive verb, as I just did, above.