Can Michigan Kids Read The Constitution? The Argument for Cursive Education
In a world where technology dominates nearly every area of our lives, the weight we've put on learning how to best use it has resulted in other subjects getting little to no priority in Michigan classrooms. Gone are the days of Home Economics 101, learning how to build a birdhouse in shop class, and learning to write in cursive.
Mandatory Cursive Curriculum Pros and Cons
Educators are divided on the topic. The National Education Association (NEA) asked those on the front lines their thoughts on mandatory cursive education. The pro-cursive camp argues that cursive writing helps to improve comprehension and retention:
it engages the brain on a deep level as students learn to join letters in a continuous flow. It also enhances fine motor dexterity and gives children a better idea of how words work in combination.
On the opposite side of the coin are those behind the keyboards. The technological world we live in means that part of making the next generation employable, getting kids comfortable with computers is paramount. When you add up the hours in the day to get children ready for the 21st century, there just isn't enough time to teach students cursive.
Lansing Lawmakers Move to Encourage Educators to Teach Cursive
A bill, supported by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), passed in the House on April 12th, 2023, 103-4. The MDE's support comes with one condition: any cursive curriculum will be optional.
"If the bill becomes state law, MDE is aware of a number of quality cursive programs that we would provide to districts that decide to teach cursive writing," department spokesman Bill Disessa said in an interview with The Detroit News.
Sign Here Please....
With cursive not being taught in most schools, there is nearly an entire generation of kids that don't have a signature. How will they sign a check, document or even an autograph? How will they test a new pen?
A signature isn't what it used to be. The days of buying a new pen and immediately testing it with you autograph are nearly gone. The ability to 'sign' a digital document means you don't have to be there in person for many transactions. Even some mortgage lenders and banks are leaning on e-sign more and more.
History is Written by the Winners...In Cursive
Most historical documents, original manuscripts and ancient tomes are scribed in cursive. Most of them have been digitized and typewritten, but what of the significance of seeing the original United States of America's Constitution, the Michigan Constitution or even the journal of a long gone family member? There is something special about a handwritten letter. It feels more personal.
Handwritten letters, cursive or not, are usually the first thing you open when you see one in your stack of unopened mail. That ink to paper feels more personal, more connected. If schools are able to work it in, without sacrificing other necessary curriculum, it would be worth teaching the next generation to at sign their names and read historically significant documents as originally written.