The cursive alphabet lies in a hospital bed, its lettered chest rising and falling less and less with each breath. Sometimes you think that it's stopped breathing altogether, but then suddenly, somewhere around the twisted letter G, appears a terrible shutter and it begins all over again.
"What can we do," you ask the doctors. "Isn't there something else we can do?"
"No, nothing," comes the answer. "We've done everything we can."
Cursive is dying and you have to say goodbye.
Of course, goodbyes come more easily to some than it does to others. There are still people, advocates out there who believe that cursive has a place in our world and in our classrooms. There are people who will claim that learning cursive will make your child do better on their SATs.
"Cursive is about connections, not the slant. It's not calligraphy. It's functional...Cursive is faster and more efficient than print. When a child knows the mechanics of forming letters in cursive, they can better focus on their content," says Suzanne Asherson. Suzanne is a presenter for Handwriting Without Tears, a national handwriting program for teachers. Suzanne is in denial. Students write with keyboards now. Soon all they'll need is their eyes and the power of their brains.
"If you only teach them to write the letters, then it's only a craft they've learned and not a practice. It's something that should be a part of our students' continuing education," says third grade teacher and believer of Handwriting Without Tears, Sophie Jacks.
These right-to-cursive-lifers will try to fool you. They'll show you videos of the cursive alphabet lying comatose in its hospital bed as they wave balloons in its face. "Look," Asherson will say. "The alphabet notices the balloons. Look how much fun it's having."
The alphabet does not notice the balloons. Allow the alphabet to go with god.
Cursive will be a relic. A marker of times past.
"The simple fact is that cursive is not included in the common core," says realist and assistant professor at USC Rossier School of Education Morgan Polikoff. "I think it's important to have nice handwriting, but the importance of having to learn two kinds of handwriting seems unnecessary given the vast method of communication is on a keyboard. One reason [to teach it] might be to be able to read historical documents and old journals that are written in cursive."
And with that the breathing stopped.
Good night sweet cursive prince: And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.