It’s Cursive! It’s Cursive!

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A bombshell study published this week by a team of meta-researchers who reviewed the data on everything by everybody ever studied in education, suggests that the answer to field’s woes is much more simplistic than ever imagined.  The culprit?


Or, to be more precise, the education system’s dismantling of cursive instruction.  Cursive proponents have suggested for years that the de-emphasis of cursive was part of a potential and wide-reaching conspiracy to undermine American education by forcing students to do sophisticated things with their time in class, such as thinking.  

The research team, lead by the world-renowned professor of education policy and practice, Thomas Whodathunkit, published their findings this week in the Journal of Education Numbers and Funny Research Symbols, and their conclusions have rocked educators, parents, and policy-makers.  

“All these years, we thought that student dropout rates were linked to more sophisticated matters, such as teacher-quality, childhood trauma, socio-economic status, or access to quality programming.  However, our research strongly suggests that the problem was much simpler than we ever suspected.  In the end, it just doesn’t matter how much you’ve learned, your ability to reason in the abstract, or your general knowledge across a variety of subject areas.  None of that matters if you can’t write it.  Well, write it with pretty loops,”  says Whodathunk.

When pressed on students who showed success throughout school in spite of a lack of cursive ability, Whodathunk shared an even more surprising finding.

“Many of those ‘high performers’ did not eventually attend college, or even trade school, because they couldn’t provide a signature.  Tens of thousands of applications were simply thrown away because, apparently, these otherwise brilliant students couldn’t find something that looked remotely like a scribble to put in the signature box.  In the end, many of them have become addicts, criminals, or even worse, proponents of increased education spending.

Thankfully, students in several states showed a slightly higher rate in achievement, due to progressive legislation mandating cursive writing, in spite of no such mandates for applied knowledge in other many other areas originally deemed “more relevant to real- life success” by opponents.

“Put a freaking x in the signature box if you have to!  Teaching kids to code or be active citizens in a democracy has to be more important to us than cursive,” suggested one anonymous educator before the passage of such a bill.  The educator did not want to be identified, for fear of retaliation from, as he called them, “Cursive Zealots” who troll those apathetic about cursive instruction on Twitter.

“I’ll bet whoever said that must feel pretty stupid today,” said Whodathunk.  

Ironically, conference brochures arrived in education officials’ mailboxes the day of the report’s release for the “First Annual Cursive Convention for Leaders: Prepare for the Solution,” in Orlando, Florida.


Mike Lee

Mike Lee

Phoenix, Arizona

I am the Director of Outreach and Engagement for The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and certified as a Middle Childhood Generalist in 2004. In 2012, I received my doctorate in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University, however, I began my work in education serving as a para-educator in a special education program while still an undergraduate. My passions in the field include assessment and reporting strategies, the evolving role of technology, teacher leadership, and effective professional development that permanently impacts instruction. I consider myself a professional teacher first, as well as a professionally evolving lifelong learner, who is incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to impact the lives of children.

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