Opinion: New Jersey Schools Don’t Need Mandatory Cursive
It seems that every single year somebody tries to make it mandatory to teach cursive in New Jersey public schools. Back in January it was Shirley Turner, and now assemblywoman Angela McKnight. The reason that this bill doesn’t pass is pretty obvious. There are less and less reasons for people to use cursive as the years go by.
I still don’t understand why legislators are constantly pushing this agenda. It’s just time wasting, in my opinion. Though I’ve heard some weak arguments for keeping it in the curriculum, I still don’t think it’s important. Plus, I feel that our educational resources could be put to much better use. When was the last time you really needed to write something in cursive?
Additionally, I have noticed an epidemic of poor fine motor skills in kids. Maybe it’s because they don’t exercise those muscles as much because of so many keyboards and video games, but whatever it is go into any occupational therapy practice and you will see dozens of kids who simply cannot tie their shoes or form letters correctly. Anecdotally, I have seen this trend rising significantly since my kids were young.
I remember when my son should have been learning cursive. I guess it was about 3rd grade. His handwriting was so poor that I couldn’t even imagine that he would be able to join the letters together into some semblance of script, so I asked the teacher what I should do. She replied “don’t worry. in 10 years he won’t need to write at all.”
And boy, was she right. But the other day when we went to get him a passport, I realized that his lack of familiarity with cursive writing made it impossible for him to have an actual bona fide signature all his own. So I told him to just write his name as best as he could without lifting the pen from the paper. And that mess of a scrawl became his signature.
Boys always had a more difficult time with the pen anyway, which is why most of the men you know use all print letters all the time. So, why the push for cursive? I still haven’t heard one really good argument for it. Plus, it’s SO 1975! Perhaps we and cursive have grown apart. And, as in the case of all long-term relationships, though the ending may sting, eventually you move past it.