Every so often, the ranking of a significant number of the world’s industrialized countries’ students achievement test scores is published. I cannot remember any such ranking for our country that was not dismal, and should be embarrassing for all Americans.
Education is not a static process and changes are not always an improvement. I recall that in the ‘60s, Latin was removed from our high school curriculum. In the ‘70s, the use of phonics in teaching reading was challenged and in some instances, replaced. Calculators were, after much debate, allowed in sixth grade math. “New math” became a popular title for an unpopular program that mystified, and still mystifies, some parents.
For many years, I have given little attention to the Snoqualmie Valley School District’s education program, only to its financial issues. Thus it came as a complete surprise when I read in a national newspaper of the widespread abandonment throughout this country of the use of cursive for communicating our English language in favor of electronic methods. This is certainly not the respect and pride we should give to our primary language, probably the most recognized language in the world.
I inquired at the Feb. 28 board meeting about our district’s program concerning cursive. I was informed that cursive is taught in the third grade, but not “emphasized” thereafter, also substituting electronics. The information that I’ve learned since then seems to indicate that this program has resulted in little cursive ability by the sixth grade and even less by graduation. In this application, electronics is an unacceptable crutch.
I feel that any graduate’s lack of ability to write our English language in cursive is an unacceptable failure of our district’s education program. How this condition developed is not the question for now. Rather, what should we do about it? I propose that if the current program is board policy, all graduates be competent to perform cursive communication. If board policy is not involved, develop one that establishes the requirement of competency in cursive for graduation, thus giving it the important role it deserves.