Source: Sherman Publications

Jim's Jottings
Handwriting dying? Don’t tell our Daddies

by Jim Sherman, Sr.

October 05, 2011

Headlines are supposed to attract our attention.This one in The Detroit News, September 23 sure got mine: “Individuality is lost as art of handwriting dies.”

The reporter is Marney Rich Keenan. She writes of her 92-year-old father comparing the speed of today’s communications with the way it was in his youth.

Keenan writes, “Nobody handwrites anymore, save the occasional thank-you note or invitation No wonder the U. S. Postal service is slated to close offices and cut back on services.

“It’s not that we are communicating less -- supposedly we send something like 300 billion emails a day worldwide. It’s just that we are not putting pen to paper.”

Then Keenan gets to the stuff I’ve heard about cursive writing not being taught in Oxford schools any more.

STOP right now.

It’s not true.

Oxford Schools James Schwartz said, via email, “Cursive writing is still covered, however, not to the extent as it once had been.”

Okay, back to Marney’s dad and my daddy. Her’s is 92 (Mine would be 121. He was graduated from Parsons Business School in Chicago and retired hand writing stuff for Grand Trunk Railroad in Durand. I have the two daily diaries he kept while serving in the Army in France in World War I. Every word, on every page is perfectly, legibly written.)

Back to Keenan’s article. She said by the time school started this year, 45 states (including Michigan) had adopted the Common Core State Academic Standard in their public schools, a curriculum, which, in part, phases out cursive writing in the classroom.

Common Core’s mission statement seeks to teach skills that are “robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills our young people need for success in college and careers.”

Thus, we can conclude from Common Core, handwriting skills are now deemed irrelevant to the real world.

Someone blogged Keenan (obviously they aren’t cursively coordinated), “Pretty handwriting, if it has any place in modern elementary schools, belongs in the art classroom.”

Another thing the computer, etc. has replaced is the individuality handwriting brings.

When a teacher or professor gets an email, blog, text or whatever electronically, do they proof read it?

I’m asking, does anyone critique it? Are grades given based on extremely shortened text messages?

Ah, I wish my daddy was around to write, in his perfect, individual handwriting what he thinks of all this in his perfect railroader’s language.

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