The Lost Virtue Of Cursive


On a recent Tuesday night, I attended the parents’ open house at my daughters’ school, a Taft-era brick building in New Haven, Connecticut, which serves four hundred and fifty children, in grades kindergarten through eighth. I have three daughters there, so I had to make the rounds to each of their homerooms. When I got to my third grader’s classroom, I sat at her desk and noticed, taped to the top of the desk’s writing surface, a laminated strip of paper displaying the multiplication tables up to 9×9, the alphabet in print, and, with little arrows showing the strokes needed to make the letters, the alphabet in cursive.

The laminated papers with cursive-writing instructions, taped to every one of the tyke-size school desks with the sweeping attached arms, were sad and beautiful at once, in the special way of obsolete educational technology, like the Apple IIe, or the №2 pencil itself. For me, a writer of strong fuddy-duddy credentials, the sad dramatic irony really was too much. You see, cursive isn’t being taught in my daughters’ school anymore, and hasn’t been for at least six years, as long as I’ve had children in the public schools. Who would tell the cursive that it was no longer needed?

Read more: The Lost Virtue of Cursive — The New Yorker

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