Iremember sitting in my college American literature class many years ago when Mrs. Sherry Jackson told the class that in a few years, handwriting would be a lost art.
During that discussion during the fall semester of my sophomore year, she held up a picture of an ink pen in a glass case. Mrs. Jackson speculated that soon ink pens would be more at home in a museum rather than a classroom.
She was an old-school teacher. So old-school, in fact, that Mrs. Jackson would not accept any typed assignments — everything had to be handwritten — this was in 1998.
I really didn’t think much of it because of my high-school experiences in the 1980s, when computers were not as prevalent as they are today. But to the rest of my classmates (I’d like to point out that I was a 28-year-old nontraditional student, while most other in the class were 18 and more used to using computers to write their papers), Mrs. Jackson’s stance was bizarre.
I was reminded of Mrs. Jackson’s class recently when I learned of a movement that would make cursive writing a lost art form.
Before I continue, I will be the first to admit that my penmanship isn’t the best in the world, and oftentimes my wife likens my handwriting to unraveling some secret code.
But nonetheless, I’ve learned that soon, cursive writing could be a thing of the past in public schools.
Over the years, I have not kept up with Mrs. Jackson, but I would imagine that she probably is raising a stink.
Within the last year or two, Kentucky became one of a handful of states to adopt the Common Core Standards, which do not require teaching cursive handwriting. States are free to add a cursive requirement if they choose to do so. However, Common Core Standards (CCS) place a focus on keyboard proficiency.
I get the emphasis on keyboard proficiency — after all, we are living in a tech world where iPads and smart phones are the norm.
So with the CCS goal to have students more proficient in mastering their keyboard ability, I cannot help but wonder if one day, my daughter will look at something I’ve written down and go, “Huh? What the heck is that, Dad?”
So much has changed since I graduated from high school, and I will admit, most of the change has been for the better. I mean, iPods are far superior to cassette tapes. On the flip side, I firmly believe that the sounds of children playing outside are much more desirable than the sounds of children playing video games on a perfectly sunny, warm day.
Some change is good. But one thing I hope never changes is the need to develop handwriting skills. I don’t view cursive writing as a lost art that will go the way of the eight-track player but rather as something that pays homage to the past. I hope it is not lost in the shuffle of the new CCS standards.