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The curse against cursive
Chicago Tribune, by Editorial

Original Article

Posted By:JoniTx, 1/12/2013 6:15:15 AM

For a lot of teachers who had Jacob Lew as a student in his youth, Thursday was a moment for pride, as he was nominated by President Barack Obama to be secretary of the Treasury. There may have also been at least one saying, "I bet he wishes he had worked harder in my class." That would be whoever taught — or, rather, failed to teach — Lew how to write presentably in cursive. Many of us fall short of the penmanship standards that once prevailed in American elementary schools, but it doesn´t really matter that our signatures are unreadable.

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: Spidey, 1/12/2013 6:27:52 AM     (No. 9112082)

It´s amazing that the media has taken up the cause to defend Lew´s lack of penmanship. I´ll bet a lot of Obama supporters have been doodling,faking Lew´s curly Q signature. For a minute I was wondering if he was a functional illiterate.

It´s really just another episode in Obama´s deck chair shuffling.

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Reply 2 - Posted by: Sfacheem, 1/12/2013 6:37:53 AM     (No. 9112096)

I have one in college and one still in high school and each neither of them was taught cursive writing. They (my sons) scoffed at me when I suggested that that was an outrage and they should learn it anyway. "Why?" they asked. "Because you´re going to be expected to jot down legible notes quickly and sign your name and if you have to print your name people are going to think you´re an imbecile".

I rest my case.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: GreatGreyhounds, 1/12/2013 7:06:53 AM     (No. 9112120)

Being a Lefty in a Righty World, I flunked every cursive course I was forced to take. And for two years, Sister Mary Elizabeth tried her best to make me write cursive, or break my knuckles

Still don´t write cursive to this day...

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Reply 4 - Posted by: Doodah, 1/12/2013 7:11:47 AM     (No. 9112128)

I taught penmanship to all my students and by year´s end most students had beautiful handwriting. Imagine my amazement when my grandson wasn´t taught cursive. I could not believe it. But then it was stressed there wasn´t time in the school day for a 20 minute handwriting exercise! Too many politically correct lessons to be learned! I believe this will be reversed, it takes more time and effort to print and many kids can not read their own writing!

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Reply 5 - Posted by: Doodah, 1/12/2013 7:14:15 AM     (No. 9112132)

Poster #3, lefties should have their handwriting tablets arranged differently on their desk. My left handed students never had any trouble. Too bad the sisters didn´t know how to accommodate the differences, otherwise, I hear they were great teachers!

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Reply 6 - Posted by: PoliticalJunky, 1/12/2013 7:16:44 AM     (No. 9112135)

I write legible cursive but neither I nor most others of my generation (few are left)can equal the beautiful cursive of past generations, We were not required to spend as much time developing it. So, its demise has been coming for a long time.

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Reply 7 - Posted by: Illinois Mom, 1/12/2013 7:45:14 AM     (No. 9112161)

I am a lefty who the Sister´s taught to have beautiful handwriting...stll do when I apply myself.

My daughter told me that my grandson would not be taught cursive in school becuse it´s not "needed" anymore.

So far I have read articles that contend that Spelling as a subject is passe as well most Mathmatics classes, all do to computers etc. If so, what do we need teachers for anyway, just instruct the kids on where to find the "start" button.

After my rant about the dumbing own of today´s kids, I asked my daughter and SIL how they would determine the square footage of our family room...neither college graduate could tell me the formula much less the answer.

God forbid the power ever goes out...everything from communicating with each other to telling time is out the window.

BTW...my grandson WILL be taught cursive. I still have my Palmer Method practice book. I will not have a future President signing legislation in block letters.

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Reply 8 - Posted by: Rinktum, 1/12/2013 8:09:23 AM     (No. 9112196)

#5, is absolutely correct. It is a very simple fix. Just turn the paper. Sad that teachers were not taught this because "hooking" would be eliminated. Some teachers today will still try and urge a child to use their right hand even if they are left handed and that makes for awkward penmanship. Being a lefty in a right world is difficult. Those darn credIt card swipers that you sign at the checkout are a pain when they won´t swivel. You have practically twist yourself into a pretzel to sign them if you are a lefty who does not hook. It is one of my pet peeves.

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Reply 9 - Posted by: privateer, 1/12/2013 8:15:03 AM     (No. 9112205)

Such departures from time-honored training are the fault of the dross emanating from teachers´ colleges for several decades. They know gender studies, multiculturalism, social justice and little of any practical use. Those who can do; those who can´t teach; those who can´t teach are protected by the Teachsters´ Union.

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Reply 10 - Posted by: udanja99, 1/12/2013 8:17:00 AM     (No. 9112209)

Some people cultivate ridiculous signatures because they think it makes them look important - too important to take the time to sign legibly. My narcissistic father had a hideous signature.

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Reply 11 - Posted by: tangles, 1/12/2013 8:41:16 AM     (No. 9112247)

I don´t care how he writes but I do care that he took an $800,000+ bonus from the taxpayer funded Citibank.

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Reply 12 - Posted by: ThinkingOutLoud, 1/12/2013 8:50:02 AM     (No. 9112257)

Well, we lefties have proportionately more U.S. Presidents in our numbers than do righties. And we are vastly more intelligent. So we have a few things going for us. Flushing a toilet is not one of them.

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Reply 13 - Posted by: Judith, 1/12/2013 8:51:20 AM     (No. 9112258)

I think it is a riot that "the smartest man in the world" has appointed a man who doodles his name as a first grader would.
Have you noticed that the "news" in this country never reports how foreign countries and leaders of those countries, react to obama? Only the foreign press point out that he is pretty much shunned.

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Reply 14 - Posted by: Ray_Stoddard, 1/12/2013 9:10:32 AM     (No. 9112297)

Lefties in a Righty world

:Righties use a gentle curve of a radius abt 18" (from elbow to fingertip)
:Lefties imitate this curve with a radius abt 5" (from wrist to fingertip)


:Righties begin letter formation by relaxing their elbow (which is not stressed into compression to the point of pain)
:Lefties begin letter formation by releasing the energy in their cramped up wrist (which is stressed into compression to the point of pain.

left to right letter formation allows time for ink to dry, if you´re right handed
left to right letter formation allows the heel of the palm to schmoosh up the not-quite-dry letters, if you´re left handed.

After the revolution (of course, I jest) when we all write from right to left with a slant to the left, you will see how beautiful our penmanship can be.

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Reply 15 - Posted by: Hotrod, 1/12/2013 9:16:16 AM     (No. 9112310)

In addition to achieving beautiful penmanship, learning cursive teaches discipline and attention to detail. Those two things are woefully lacking in all areas of education today.

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Reply 16 - Posted by: glasslass, 1/12/2013 9:17:47 AM     (No. 9112313)

#12, Obama is left handed...I believe that theory of higher intelligence just flew out the window doing back flips!

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Reply 17 - Posted by: Urgent Fury, 1/12/2013 9:19:17 AM     (No. 9112314)

Cursive used to be necessary due to the fact that ink from inkwells, dipped onto quills, would bead up every time the quill was put to paper.

That said, Lew is another unserious pick from an evil clowncar administration.

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Reply 18 - Posted by: Rather Read, 1/12/2013 9:21:34 AM     (No. 9112321)

I can write cursive, but my hand writing isn´t very good. I mostly print, but I do sign my name and you can read it, unlike Mr. Lew´s.

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Reply 19 - Posted by: tnorling, 1/12/2013 9:30:22 AM     (No. 9112344)

Hmmm. #3 I´m a lefty, and learned to write as rightys right, slanted to the left rather than the right... Because of my writing, I´m often accused of being an architect or a creator of fonts. So much for right being the only way to write.

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Reply 20 - Posted by: Garage Logician, 1/12/2013 9:33:00 AM     (No. 9112350)

A talk show host yesterday said that until recently he didn´t know that loopy Lew had been signing his Hostess cupcakes.

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Reply 21 - Posted by: secondtimelucky, 1/12/2013 9:37:02 AM     (No. 9112356)

my dad had the most beautiful copperplate handwriting. I´m constantly amazed at the level of his education, from a small school in Lake Andes, SD. IIRC, there were 12 in his HS graduation class. And yes, he rode a horse barefoot - uphill in both directions...

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Reply 22 - Posted by: antiquegolf, 1/12/2013 9:38:11 AM     (No. 9112361)

In 1995 on the eve of a big operation at the Mayo ClinIc in Rochester I was interviewed by surgeon. He broke out a small spiral notebook and a fountain pen and recorded notes in the most beautiful penmanship I´ve ever seen. I complimented him. He told me the nuns made him practice. The exquisite quality of his script gave me confidence that I was in good hands.

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Reply 23 - Posted by: TunnelRat, 1/12/2013 10:07:47 AM     (No. 9112408)

Cursive was developed in the ninth century. Before that manuscripts were written in block letters. The older, block letter mss are known as majuscules, the newer, spiffier cursives are known as minuscules. I learned this because I used to collate medieval, New Testament minuscules for the Greek New Testament Project.

By the way, what´s this about kids not dancing the quadrille anymore...?

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Reply 24 - Posted by: Screwgun, 1/12/2013 10:11:59 AM     (No. 9112415)

I haven´t written in cursive in 30 years. You´ll find most folks who´ve done a lot of drafting never do. The only cursive that´s ever on blueprints is the engineer´s signature.

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Reply 25 - Posted by: Mass Minority, 1/12/2013 10:18:06 AM     (No. 9112427)

My cursive is more than atrocious, its a crime against nature. I print, everything, i´ve even given up and started printing when I write checks.

My signature is not much better, and illegible. No matter, 15 years ago I got a call from my bank asking if I had written a check to so and so. I had not. The check was large enough to drain the checking account but not so large as to merit scrutiny (my monthly mortgage was larger).

What caught the guy was not the bank security folks, it was the teller. She took one look at the signature and flagged the guy. She had never met me but had processed many of my checks. My signature (or lack therof depending on your point of view) was so horrendous it stuck in her memory.

On a lighter note one of my Doctors, whose scribbles baffled all, proudly displayed among his board certifications, licenses and diplomas an award for penmanship from his sixth grade teacher.

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Reply 26 - Posted by: comstock, 1/12/2013 12:00:55 PM     (No. 9112637)

Bring back the Palmer Method, and the little blue books. I learned with inkwells and sharp pointy pens. We used to stop by the river on the way to school and pick up a couple of little frogs. Then when class was boring we would put the frogs on the desk and have a contest to see who could get the frog (prodded by the pointy end of the pen) to jump into the open ink bottle.

I often wondered who cleaned out those inkwells at the end of the year, and what he thought about finding all those deceased frogs in the bottom.

Another trick was to get some glycerine from the drugstore and put it in the teacher´s inkwell - the ink would never dry - and would smear all over the place. Usually done a few days before report cards (another anachronism) were filled out.

I still use a fountain pen and write great cursive. I have a collection of them, a silver Cross is my day-to-day pen, but my favorite is a beautiful Mont Blanc, also in silver - perfectly balanced with the cap on the end, a delight to write with.

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Reply 27 - Posted by: Bumblebee, 1/12/2013 12:30:57 PM     (No. 9112701)

Another Progressive idea to dumb down our kids? In a few more years when they cannot read cursive then it can be used as "code language writing" for criminals or those intending to hide something.

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Reply 28 - Posted by: hopeandglory, 1/12/2013 4:39:53 PM     (No. 9113113)

"Practice makes perfect and good handwriting gives pleasure to writer and reader alike."

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Reply 29 - Posted by: Fledrmaus, 1/12/2013 4:54:32 PM     (No. 9113132)

My daughter wasn´t taught cursive, either. I found out when I pulled her out of school and homeschooled her for a few months, because she was being victimized by bullies at the lousy public school in our neighbourhood. I taught her how to write cursive in a few simple lessons. (Also taught her French, a lot better than the class teacher who spent 7 months ignoring her because she couldn´t ask questions in the language.)

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