I was speaking with a college professor this morning waiting for the Jeopardy thing this morning, and a recent story on Slashdot reminded me of the conversation and something I have been thinking alot about lately.
Why the fuck are elementary schools still teaching “Cursive” or “Script” or whatever that style of penmanship is called these days? I think the year or two of class devoted to this remnant of the past would be much, much better placed towards teaching kids to type. Call it a personal failure, but I couldn’t write a single word in cursive today at 26 years of age? Why, you may ask? Because that skill hasn’t been called on since like 6th grade, all my teachers preferred typed coursework. In fact, this skill, that my elementary curricula devoted so much time to, has never been called upon outside of the academic environment.
This woman that I spoke with this morning told me that her little boy got a 100% on a spelling/vocabulary quiz the other day, but the teacher deducted 5% off the grade due to poor penmanship. What do we currently do? We teach children a form of penmanship for the first few years of their education, then we teach them another one out of tradition. Where is typing class? Generally a middle-school ELECTIVE! I vote for making cursive an elective and teach the kids a useful skill earlier on: Typing. Even a hard-core computer geek such as myself didn’t learn to touch-type until 5th or 6th grade (on an electric typewriter, no less). To me this is a major failure of the American educational system’s ability to adapt to changing times.
Update: Apparently I forgot the structure of the school system, yes it has been so long. I didn’t learn to touch type until High School, which would have been 9th or 10th grade. I’m a dumbass.