The effort to keep cursive writing from dying


well we live in a digital world where

all our messages and emails are tapped

out on our devices and sent in a matter

of seconds but in some parts of the

world there is a big effort to push back

and preserve that most basic form of

communication cursive handwriting our

Chicago correspondent and e-version

found out that it's not just for

nostalgia here at Prairie school north

of Chicago teachers and students pride

themselves on their strong technology

curriculum these tech-savvy kids banging

out algorithms and codes on their

keyboards like concert pianists could

very well be the tech titans of tomorrow

and that's why every day students here

get intensive training in cursive

handwriting administrators here saw the

handwriting on the wall so to speak we

heard our colleagues around us really

questioned when we would have students

visiting prospective students here to

Prairie school they would ask why why

would you be spending time on

handwriting or cursive in fact the

school thought about ditching cursive

writing as a curriculum but they dug

deeper and found plenty of research like

this that shows cursive handwriting

the act of continuously drawing out

letters and words builds a better brain

at when students do things with their

hands it helps them to organize and

retain what they've done better

understand what they've done and that's

when prairie decided not just to keep

its cursive handwriting curriculum but

actually expand it

and so my kid oh yeah alright so I first

started when I first became a senator

the governor had to certify me this is

the governor signatures

Illinois state senator Kimberly

Lightford does a lot of work with

minority teenagers in her district

trying to help them get jobs by teaching

them financial literacy which includes

the requirement that they sign important

documents with the signature even if

it's on their tech devices and she says

she was embarrassed by what she learned

one thing McKee is had in common is none

of them had a signature Lightford did

something about it

last year she successfully introduced

legislation in the Illinois State

Assembly to make cursive handwriting

mandatory in the state's Elementary


a requirement that had gone by the

wayside in Illinois and most other US

states over the last ten years you go

for a job application it says print name

then assess signature your driver's

license says signature you sign your

social security card it says your

signature and she says signatures are

still used at the grassroots level to

get people signed up for political

activism we cannot ask people to give us

what we're not teaching them to do at

Chicago's Field Museum world history is

preserved in the most dramatic way to

make sure future generations never

forget how past generations communicated

from towering totem poles to the ancient

writings of the Etruscans the Egyptians

and the Greeks so then you have to ask

is there a payoff if you will for the

kind of writing which is dumped this way

even on a piece of paper or on the wall

yes Museum anthropologist John Terrell

who says we are doing a thing for our

brains when we type out letters or

emojis with our fingertips but some

people think we shouldn't worry so much

about our newer more offbeat way of

indicating the crazy emojis of today are

no different than the hieroglyphs of

ancient Egypt you know this idea that

emojis are somehow a degradation of

communication I think kind of sells the

story short when in fact it is just

building upon the communication we

already have as we've seen throughout

this exhibition language is fluid but

eventually will keyboarding kill cursive

and put it in a museum as just another

ancient form of communication cursive is

not just a way of writing it's a way of

Education and then you have to ask are

we going to try to educate kids in the

future and I can't I don't have a

crystal ball but I sure hope we are and

that's why here at Prairie school

they're putting more emphasis than ever

on cursive handwriting before it becomes

as dead as the dinosaur and erosion in

Chicago four wheel