Even as keyboards and screens have supplanted pencil and paper in schools, lawmakers and defenders of cursive have lobbied to re-establish this old-school writing pedagogy across the country, igniting a debate about American values and identity and exposing intergenerational fault lines.Conservative intellectuals are always trying to justify their creed as something other than simple nostalgia, but then something like this crops up.
When Anne Trubek, the author of The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting, started studying the resurgence of cursive about a decade ago, reasons for teaching it focused on developing a civilized, well-mannered population.
“People were upset about the idea that you might not seem educated if you didn’t know cursive,” she said.
But in recent years, the reasoning for cursive became associated with “convention, tradition, conservatism,” she said, and tied to discussions about school uniforms and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Indeed, several Republican lawmakers have spearheaded campaigns to revive the writing style.
In 2016, lawmakers in Washington introduced a bill backing cursive after Pam Roach, then a Republican state senator, noted that a constituent had said her grandchild could not read a handwritten letter. The measure did not pass.
Lawmakers have also invoked the Declaration of Independence, which was marked by John Hancock’s flamboyant signature, as a reason for a script revival.
Sunday, April 14, 2019
Trying to Save Cursive
As the world tumbles along its disaster-pockmarked course toward who knows what, hundreds of mainly Republic legislators and educators have come together to fight the good fight for preserving cursive: