Michelle Leonard: ‘Write’ of passage

February 24, 2013 

‘Write’ of passage

I have started teaching my youngest how to write in cursive after it was dropped from the N.C. curriculum.

How will thousands of third-graders in this country develop a signature? Will it be obsolete by the time they are adults? What will they do when asked for an autograph? What if they become important and have to sign documents as part of their positions? A signature or autograph is a part of one’s personal identity.

Currently, my third-grader cannot read anything written in cursive. Cursive notes are a secret code to her. Without instruction, eventually few people will be able to read important historical documents. In the future, being able to read and write cursive may be a specialized job skill.

Cursive isn’t just an art, it is part of our humanity and our culture. If we let this rite of passage slip away, we are well on our way to becoming more like machines. Imagine if the signers of our Declaration of Independence had printed their names or signed with an “X” because they couldn’t read it! School systems have a choice: Not a requirement doesn’t equal not important.

Michelle Leonard, Raleigh

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