From an op-ed piece in the New York Times:
Districts and states should not mandate the teaching of cursive. Cursive should be allowed to die. In fact, it's already dying, despite having been taught for decades. Very small proportions of adults use cursive for their day-to-day writing. Much of our communication is done on a keyboard, and the rest is done with print.Not only did I learn cursive, I learned the abacus and the slide rule as well. Sigh...
Additionally, there is little compelling research to suggest the teaching of cursive positively affects other student skills enough to merit its teaching. While both research and common sense indicate students should be taught some form of penmanship, there is simply no need to teach students both print and cursive...
Given these realities, teachers would be better off focusing on the skills and knowledge that will impact student success in the future. These include printing and typing, but not cursive. As we have done with the abacus and the slide rule, it is time to retire the teaching of cursive. The writing is on the wall.
Image from Wikipedia, where I also found these interesting tidbits:
While the terms cursive or script are popular in the United States for describing this style of writing the Latin script, this term is rarely used elsewhere.
The origin of the cursive method is associated with practical advantages of writing speed and infrequent pen lifting to accommodate the limitations of the quill. Quills are fragile, easily broken, and will spatter unless used properly. Steel dip pens followed quills; they were sturdier, but still had some limitations.
The term cursive derives from the 18th century French cursif from Medieval Latin cursivus, which means literally running. This term in turn derives from Latin currere ("to run, hasten")
In the Classical Arabic script, letters of any given word are joined to one another by a continuous flowing line. This flowing script inspired the cursive of Medieval Latin, which in turn developed into the longhand script of English [embed at right]
Cursive handwriting developed into something approximating its current form from the 17th century, but its use was neither uniform, nor standardized either in England itself or elsewhere in the British Empire.
In 2012, the American states of Indiana and Hawaii announced that their schools will no longer be required to teach cursive (but will still be permitted to), and instead will be required to teach "keyboard proficiency".