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Cursive: Does anybody still care?

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Quick, when was the last time you wrote in cursive? You know, that scripty handwriting style you learned in elementary school, then promptly forgot existed while you spent your written life alternating between print letters and keyboard strokes. Not true? Okay then, write a cursive capital G, or better yet, a Q. We thought so.

Would it surprise you to know that in 2013, some Southern Nevada schools still teach cursive, in an age when mailing a letter to a friend seems as outmoded as riding a horse over to his house? It surprised us, so we called the Clark County School District to find out why kids are still learning how to connect their Ps to their Ys. And it turns out cursive is being phased out, by the 45 states that have adopted the nation’s new Common Core Standards. Nevada is one, which means CCSD schools are no longer required to teach cursive in classrooms. But they still can if they choose to, so we tracked down a principal who still includes cursive in his curriculum.

While conceding that cursive isn’t an academic “priority” at this stage, Marcus Mason, principal at Kermit R. Booker Sr. Elementary School, says there’s “still something beneficial we can mine” from its teaching. “The children are texting and keyboarding, so they’re producing less and less handwriting,” he says. “Schools started using calculators, too, and children began forgetting how to do simple computations. I just think the more ability you have to communicate to a broad audience, the better, so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with keeping the cursive style alive, even if it’s as more of an art form at this point.”

Mason’s school is even helping bring cursive into the modern age, utilizing iPad applications in its classrooms to fuse technology and the archaic writing technique. That sounds like something we might be able to get behind … provided we never have to write about it by hand.

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Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is the Editor of Las Vegas Weekly, having previously served as Managing Editor, Arts & Entertainment Editor and ...

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