Are correct grammar, precise punctuation, and legible penmanship a thing of the past?
Yesterday, Katia Hetter posted her article “Nation of adults who write like children?” on cnn.com. The article pictured letters teen stars Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber recently wrote themselves as part of the Habbo Celebrity “Advice to My Teenage Self” book. We’re in the writing business here at McKinney-Cerne Inc., so, naturally, several of us allocated the five minutes it took to read her article over.
Our generally agreed upon opinion of Hetter’s post was that it’s nothing new. We all know that a child’s ability to masterfully type an essay is quickly surpassing the importance of shorthand; we know that more and more school districts are eliminating their cursive handwriting requirements; and we know that sloppily handwritten works are practically the norm. So we asked ourselves, why bother beating the dead handwriting horse?
And then we got to thinking: What if cursive handwriting is just the beginning? What if text words like “u” for “you” and “2” for “to” or “too” are one day widely accepted in college term papers? What if we forgo grammar lessons next? What if handwriting becomes a thing of the past altogether?
As you can see by some of the Hetter’s commenters, the slippery slope theory is a highly criticized. But we’re already seeing the warning signs. Young adults utilize text words outside of school in social media like it’s going out of style. Now, more and more schools are eliminating cursive writing. And don’t even get us started on grammar and punctuation. (“Your” does not mean “you’re.” We can’t tell you how often we see college students applying for internships make this mistake!)
What it all comes down to is that necessary skills and subjects we learned at a young age are suffering because today’s schools focus too heavily on improving test scores, and they don’t dedicate the necessary time to keep beloved traditional skills like cursive handwriting alive. (Not to mention, they probably don’t show beloved “School House Rock” episodes anymore!) We hope that school districts will learn the error of their ways soon and begin to re-emphasize the importance of handwriting, punctuation, grammar, literature, and history. Who’s with us?
(Just a fun side note: Lisa spent a bit of yesterday afternoon practicing her cursive alphabet. It took her a minute to get back in the swing of it, but her letters and style were nearly perfect once she did. She first learned cursive handwriting in her 3rd grade classroom in 1998.)