kids writingAm I the only one who thinks it's a bad thing that Indiana schools will no longer be teaching kids how to write in cursive starting this fall? I get the logic behind the change: Nobody writes in cursive anymore (or "script," as we called it in my day), and kids would be better off spending the time perfecting their keyboard technique than learning how to make a fancy capital "G."

The thing is, people do still need to write, you know, like with pens and pencils, on paper and greeting cards and, I don't know, shopping lists. I guess a working knowledge of how to print is sufficient for those purposes, but isn't anybody going to sign their freaking name anymore?

It's not so much the loss of the art of cursive that bothers me, it's the general shortcut-taking trend in education right now. Take spelling, for example. Maybe it's the ex-Catholic schoolgirl in me, but I find it absolutely atrocious that kids these days have no idea how to spell, and it's not their fault at all: The phonetic spelling technique used by most schools currently is completely useless.

Instead of drilling kids on the actual spelling of words, students are told to "sound it out" and parents are told NOT to correct misspellings. That would be fine if the English language weren't filled with inconsistencies and exceptions to phonetic rules, but it is: How is a kid supposed to know if "phone" starts with an "f" or a "ph" if he's just "sounding it out"? And don't even get me started on the ubiquitous Everyday Math curriculum that makes basic tasks like multiplication ridiculously complicated (though it's supposed to be making it "simple." It was simple before!).

I'm not anti-tech in any way, and nobody's ever accused me of being old-fashioned. I just think that in our misguided quest to make education more efficient, we're actually shortchanging our kids. I'm afraid they'll be left with too few academic blocks to build a decent foundation.

What do you think of Indiana's new no-cursive policy?


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