Letter: Curse those who would condemn cursive writing

Dear Editor,

It was disheartening to read that our Ministry of Education is continuing to be short-sighted in education – in this case, regarding the possible discontinuation of cursive writing in the elementary curriculum, which realistically takes up a very small portion of educational time in early learning.

Cursive writing is the basis for adult signatures. Without it, an adult will be printing his or her name on legal, medical, financial, governmental, and other official documents – as well as casual paperwork such as note-taking, cards, letters, etc.

They do not ask you to print your name on your real estate contract, bank documents, marriage license, authorization for surgery – they ask you to sign.

I would be horrified to think that we are arbitrarily throwing away this adult ability and requirement over the few actual hours spent teaching and practicing cursive writing in early elementary school.

There is an argument in our electronic age that cursive writing is no longer necessary. This is selfishly and short-sightedly assuming that every single child growing up now and in the future everywhere in B.C. will have financial access to (for the rest of their lives) a computer of some nature, the money to run it, print from it, maintain it, and hook up to the internet.

To assume this will be true 100 per cent of the time is not just condemning those not financially able to a form of written illiteracy, it is also condemning those who will  have the resources to say, “I will always have a computer handy every moment of my day,” (and will never be asked to sign anything) to the same level of written illiteracy, with one less manual tool in their box to understand, record, and cope with the world around them.   

Some feel that it is only grandparents who will, for sentimental reasons, object to the lessening of their grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s educational background through the elimination of cursive writing.

Indeed, it will be current parents and grandparents who will be relied upon to translate the scripted word when a younger generation comes to them with a document, piece of personal correspondence, piece of art, example from history in ours or previous centuries, that contains cursive writing.

How sad and ridiculous is this? This is not just 10 or 20 years from now, but is somewhat evident in the current generation of secondary and post-secondary students who often cannot read most scripts, as they have already had a shortening of their learning and utilization of this form of writing, and many do not have a “signature” because they never really learned cursive writing properly.

I can see no significant financial or educational justification in eliminating cursive writing from our current and future curriculum, given its insignificant financial burden in time or materials on the current school system, and what we will lose as an educated society.

Darlene Mercer, Langley

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