I was talking to a teacher from Florida the other night and learned that her state has added an important element to the Common Core Standards, cursive writing.
We all know how cursive is an important 21st Century Skill! I cant tell you how often I hear from someone from the business community bemoaning the serious lack of well crafted, hand written résumés crossing their desks.
As you can see, I myself love blogging in cursive and lament those bygone days of handwritten, cursive newspapers and magazines.
I wanted to take a moment to laud Florida and suggest a few other 21st Century Skills they may like to add.
Open Fire Cooking
To few of us know how to build a proper cooking fire. We’ve lost the important scientific knowledge of raking the proper amount of coals and the proper height to hang pots and meat.
Microwaves are convenient, yes. However how is anyone going to heat up that Hot Pocket after the zombie apocalypse unless we teach kids about fire?
Spinning and Weaving
Yes, I admit that I too get much of my clothes from Target. However, I still know my warp from my weft! Imagine the fine motor skills a young student can learn by keeping his yarn a consistent thickness and twist?
Harnessing a Buggy
Cars are nice. I like my Prius for sure. We’ve all heard that there wont be oil forever! Even at fifty miles to the gallon, I’m driving on borrowed time!
Horses will run as long as there is grass growing. Its high time we start teaching children how to use those horses properly!
So, there you go Florida, three important 21st Century Skills for your consideration.
I hope you don’t let cursive writing languish alone.
Now, if you didn’t notice my tongue deeply lodged in my cheek, let’s take a minute and get real about cursive.
Yes, cursive writing is dying. Let it. With computers, smart phones, and advancing talk-to-text software development, we don’t need cursive anymore.
My Florida teacher friend, while not defending the State Board’s decision, tried to explain to me their rationale. “Kids can’t read the Constitution without cursive,” she said. “They will need to be able to read cursive in order to understand primary historical sources.”
I called bull pucky right away. If we seriously think for one moment that school children should be able to read original primary sources without a translation, then we’re saying that they need to learn cuneiform, hieroglyphics, hanzi, Sanskrit, Gothic, Ojibwe and a whole host of other historical writing systems. So clearly, the historical-document justification is a scam.
What’s really going on here? I bet you’ve guessed it already, dear reader. The wise members of the Florida State Board of Education lament that kids these days don’t know cursive. If learning cursive writing in school was good enough for the members of the board, well, it’s good enough for their children. Or grandchildren. And the rest of the state’s children.
These are the kinds of decisions we get when we elect non-professional educators to positions of power over education. This is the kind of logic that goes into the very important decision of “What should our kids know and be able to do?”
It’s time for the Florida State Board to concede that the world is changing and evolving and skills that were once useful are no longer so.
Let cursive retire to it’s proper 21st Century place, the signature line.
* Drops fountain pen *