Saturday, March 31, 2007

Brilliant Quote

"You would think that Christian writer GK Chesterton was describing today’s
public educational system when he said, “Education is the period during which
you are being instructed by somebody you do not know, about something you do not
want to know.” Christians need to realize that much of our public education
system is training our children to be cogs in the economic machine, and not
enabling them to pursue what is truly beautiful. "

From a new blog I discovered: Scriptorium Daily

The quote is from Cursed Cursive. I don't entirely agree with not teaching cursive, just because I happen to think that writing in cursive is faster and easier on the hand (although at least a couple of my kids would disagree) but I loved the quote.


KateGladstone said...

I couldn't find out how to post this to the original "Cursed Cursive" author — Paul Spears — so I'll post it to you, in hopes that you can post it to him.

The woes and failures of handwriting instruction come in *very* large part from teachers damnation-bent on equating "good handwriting" with "doing it in cursive" ... when actually, according to a 1998 study in the JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH (citation below) the fastest and most legible handwriters break about half the rules of cursive.
It turns out that the fastest handwriters (and especially the fastest LEGIBLE handwriters) /a/ join only some letters, not all of them — using only the easiest joins, skipping the rest — and /b/ use some cursive and some printed letter-shapes (where printed and cursive letters seriously "disagree" in shape, highest-speed highest-legibility handwriters tend to go for the printed shape).

Graham, S., Berninger, V., & Weintraub, N. (1998). The relationship between handwriting style and speed and quality. Journal of Educational Research, volume 91, issue number 5, (May/June 1998), pages 290-297.

In other words — cursive writing comes in, at best, second-best. For more information on the curse of cursive (and how to "un-curse" yourself), visit the Handwriting Repair [tm] web-site at or

Kate Gladstone
Director, World Handwriting Contest
CEO, Handwriting Repair

By the way:

/1/ the Educational Testing Service tells me they don't fail anyone for not writing The Passage in cursive — they give that passage only as a way to check later (if score-disputes arise) on the possibility that a student may have hired someone else to take the test. (They figure that hearing "Do It In Cursive" will scare off any hired substitute who can provide the correct answers but not simulate the cursive of whatever student hired him to take the test.)

/2/ Even the law doesn't require cursive for signatures. Legally, your signature consists of whatever you intend as your signature when you write it.
For more information on this point, including legal sources and documentation, please visit the Handwriting Repair [tm] FAQ page at
and scroll down to the material on signatures.
The myth that "signatures legally require cursive" apparently originated with some elementary-school teachers as a "motivational device" they could concoct in order to persuade the children to accept the forcible change to cursive from the printed handwriting that they had just spent two years learning and trying to polish. Teachers have to do a lot of things to educate the next generation but — in my opinion as a teacher — education must NOT include telling untruths about the law of the land.

/3/ Speaking of untruths, someone has lied to Paul Spears about California schools requiring cursive. The actual requirements require, not cursive, but either "cursive or joined italic" — which implies that at least some schools/teachers there use, or could use if they wished, the latter (and FAR more sensible) system of handwriting. Check the requirements for yourself: at (third-grade requirements) and (fourth-grade requirements) — to see what "joined italic" looks like (I think you'll cheer!), Google "italic handwriting" and/or "italic penmanship."

Juanita said...

Thanks, Kate.

It's true that I don't use a true cursive - it's a mixture of italic & cursive letters. I've noticed that most people seem to do that these days, although older people do tend to still have beautiful cursive writing.