It was a good book, the student told the 14 others in the undergraduate seminar I was teaching, and it included a number of excellent illustrations, such as photographs of relevant Civil War manuscripts. But, he continued, those weren’t very helpful to him, because of course he couldn’t read cursive.

~ Drew Gilpin Faust from,

People of a certain age know that cursive is no longer taught and that of course there must be people who can’t read or write cursive. But I certainly wasn’t clear on when the sun actually set. (Hint: Teaching of cursive ended in 2010.)

What struck me in this article was how Faust’s not knowing about the sunset of cursive knowledge sparked an interesting discussion among himself and the students in his class. Rather than rail against the cessation of cursive education, I’m left with interesting questions: I was taught a specific, super–simplified form of cursive. I know there are other styles, even hardcore calligraphy, which I can barely read. While there are lots of reasons trotted out for why cursive should be taught, maybe I should go through the effort of learning another form of cursive to put my efforts where my mouth has always been? If my cursive knowledge—for example—opens up my ability to access certain documents, wouldn’t it be better (my own argument goes) to learn another form, or to practice even more, to access even more?