Art by Yuna Lee
It is the modern age, where programs such as Word and Google Docs replace the typewriter and handwriting. In this new age, writing utensils such as pens and pencils are only used for small signatures, not an entire paper. Handwriting is starting to become an extinct form of communication. So why are we still fighting for it?
Recently, the Illinois House passed a law requiring cursive to be taught in elementary and high schools. Sponsors for the law claimed that it’s important that tech-savvy children retain cursive writing to be able to read historical documents, write personal notes and sign documents.
If kids are so tech-savvy, then why are we taking critical school time away to learn a useless skill when they could be learning something that will last a lifetime?
Elementary school is a crucial time in children’s education. They are taught the basics of every subject. They are taught how to add, subtract, divide and multiply, all skills necessary for higher level math. They are also taught basic grammar, which is something that everyone uses throughout their lives. I believe that if cursive must be taught, it should only be taught in elementary school and then left alone.
Even then, cursive should only take up a small part of learning time in elementary school as there are so many more important things to learn. Once cursive is taught, it should be left alone and up to the student and parent on whether or not it should be used again.
The main concern I have with the new law is the requirement for it to be taught in high school. High school is arguably the most challenging and determining years of school for a teenager. Yes, middle school and elementary school are important, but high school determines the college you will go to and what path you want to take for your adult life.
Time is precious in high school as there are so many things students try to fit in so little time. Students are trying to earn their spots in top colleges by packing their schedules with AP classes, sports and extracurriculars. Cursive is not a priority for kids in high school and is only holding them back from a class they can reach their true potential in.
If a student wants to major in economics in college, but can’t fit that class into his schedule because he is required to take cursive, can his true potential be released?
Cursive is a skill that should be optional to learn. Learning it in elementary school is acceptable, but in high school it is a waste of time. It is simply a different way to hand-write.
Everything is turning to technology these days, and it is almost unheard of for a teacher to require a student to hand write an essay, so why are high schoolers forced to take cursive lessons?
Technology should be the priority as it is what the world is moving towards. Majority of learning time should be focused on things that will be useful to the student later on. They need to learn important skills that will help in all aspects of their lives, not just something they use once.
Cursive has its time and place and that is in elementary school. Forcing high school kids to relearn cursive should not be done. Teenagers have more important things to focus their time and energy on with their tough courses and extracurriculars.