It's against the law not to teach students to write cursive in Alabama.
That's right. Teachers who drill pupils on creating rounded letterforms on lined paper and fail to also train them in the ways of the more elegant script are bonafide renegades, according to this story I heard on NPR this morning.
Inarguably, cursive is a flourish on written communication, evoking a time of more romantic or formal correspondence. Since I learned to write in cursive in third grade, I've never gone back. Or, more accurately, I've adopted an everyday scrawl of Spanglish-style half-cursive. Given the business I'm in, I've definitely got a bias towards its preservation, so I was tickled to hear that some lawmakers are also fighting for its survival.
From the story:
Historian Tamara Plakins Thornton says the battle over teaching cursive in schools is not new. She says in the '50s and '60s the teaching of cursive was even linked to the Cold War.
"Unbelievably, there were arguments that the fact that American kids couldn't do cursive made us vulnerable to the Russian menace," she says.
Thornton sees the cursive laws as really a way lawmakers in Alabama and other states can advocate for what they see as traditional values in a time of social unrest.
"When we want to embrace the past, when we get nostalgic for the past when we think it was better, then we get all warm and fuzzy about handwriting," Thornton says.
Call me old fashioned, but, I'm all for it, Alabama. Where do I sign?