OK, I'll admit I can be a bit of a dinosaur. Just ask my kids. But I'm really struggling with what is fast becoming the demise of cursive writing in America, including right here in our fair city of Dublin, where it is no longer a part of the core curriculum.
It appears that in our caffeine-induced high test-scores-or-bust mentality (and yes, I know standards are changing ... somewhat), teachers have simply not had the time to teach students what many of us spent hours theoretically perfecting: how to write something other than block letters.
"It's a shift," says John Green Elementary School Principal Keith Nomura. "Cursive in and of itself may be more of something from romantic times, but it's been a shift in our world culturally toward connectivity via the computer, text messaging and emails."
So, in other words, the schools can teach typing on a keyboard, with cursive fonts part of the choices the user can make -- not that the young users will actually be able to recognize the letters being printed from the aforementioned fonts.
To be fair, some teachers at Green Elementary and other schools are including a few lessons on cursive on their own, but Nomura says with the changing California education standards, and all of the additional demands brought upon teachers, such as teaching anti-bullying lessons, its far more important that students are able craft a coherent and legible (aka written and printed using a computer) three to four-paragraph essay than is it is to know how to actually use a pen to artistically produce an esthetically beautiful document or letter.
What do you think? Stegosaurus? Brachiosaurus? T-Rex?
Even renowned Stanford Computer Sciences Professor Emeritus Les Ernest, who 20-plus years ago worked on software that would allow a computer to read cursive and turn it into text, thinks cursive lovers need to accept that it could be going away for good.
"It's probably going to fade away and become something like exotic handwriting. People may be able to read it for a while, but the writing will go away," he told me.
But what about being able to at least sign your own name to a check or other legal documents? Nope, not necessary, adds Ernest.
"It's possible now to do digital signatures, and I expect it (handwritten signatures) to fade away over the next 10 years."
Oh, and by the way, says Nomura, when's the last time that peoples' signatures even remotely resembled real cursive handwriting? At least that's what I think Nomura said. I'm struggling to read my own cursive handwritten notes at the moment.
Yeah, well, good luck being able to have kids read the original signatures on the Declaration of Independence, or to read the autographs of their favorite sports stars -- at least until the rich and famous, too, can only write in block letters.
OK, definitely Triceratops.
Changes at DPIE: Congratulations to Janet Lockhart, the retiring executive director of Dublin Partners in Education for all of her work to help support Dublin schools. The former Dublin mayor is stepping down at the end of this month and turning over the reigns to Fawn Holman, who spent many years working for the city and will now continue the efforts of Lockhart, the board and staff.
If you have slightly older kids in Dublin schools, you may have noticed over the past few years that DPIE has pulled back with direct solicitation of donations from parents of district students so as not to compete with local parent faculty clubs. But DPIE still holds special events, like the upcoming Oct. 25 Celebrity Waiter event. And despite the sluggish economy, businesses have not pulled back from continuing to send in checks to support the nonprofit organization.
"DPIE has not experienced a decline in corporate contributions this year, and we have actually welcomed new business partners who have contributed to our scholarship fund and other programming," says Holman.
You can find out more by visiting www.dpie.org or liking their Facebook page.
Contact Alan Elias at firstname.lastname@example.org.