Cursive no longer “write” of passage in schools

Posted on: 10:27 am, September 9, 2013, by and , updated on: 11:07am, September 9, 2013

For so many of us, it was literally a “write” of passage; the sometimes painful process of learning to write in cursive, or script.

With a new school year under way, teaching the “old kind” of writing continues to fade.

Most of us remember it well, learning the loops and the curves of cursive handwriting.

But in 2013, is cursive really all that important?

It is no longer a required part of the curriculum in the vast majority of the country.

Michael Sull, 64, is a certified master penman, an expert in Spenserian penmanship.

It’s the style of some classic logos like Ford and Coca-Cola.

He said he was inspired by his mother’s writing.

Sull said, “There are so many children today who can’t even read cursive writing, let alone write it.”

You could argue the writing has been on the wall for cursive since the dawn of the e-mail era and now texting and social media threaten to write its final obituary.

At the offices of BuzzFeed, which tracks viral content on the web, a young staff finds plenty to write about but rarely in cursive.

BuzzFeed’s Ben Mathis-Lilley said, “I guess when you’re signing a check or maybe writing a thank you note to one of your elderly relatives.”

Jan Olsen teaches cursive to teachers, and like music, she said it’s has a positive developmental impact on children.

Olsen said, “In music they learn how to connect the notes and in cursive they learn how to connect the letters.”

Principal Mary Toomey said she believes cursive helps explain her school’s high achievement scores.

Toomey said, “One of the ways that we have differentiated ourselves with the district is the adoption of a penmanship program.”

Those who hold fast to pen and paper say even in a world of digital short hand and rapid fire emails, the art of writing will have its place.

Sull said, “As long as we are human beings there will always be the desire to hand write someone to tell them how you feel.”