Literacy's Last Hurrah

Today's public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can't read them either. --Gore Vidal


The decision makers in the Teaching of Reading debacle are taking a final wrong path and from this new error there will be no return. After more than six decades of untested fads, illogical theories, and futile practices, the public education show has begun its final act. "The End" will be devastation. Einstein once predicted that the weapons of the future would be "sticks and stones." I suggest that the educational tools of the future will be...soft clay and stiff reeds. You see, the educational-powers-that-be have now decided that schools must stop teaching cursive penmanship, which will ultimately result in a return to primitive, preliterate skills.



Consider this...We speak in cursive. Our mouths, teeth, tongue, and lips control and coordinate breath and voice so that we not only articulate sounds but blend them, one into the other; so that we blend words, one into the other. In both external and internal language; in both expressive and receptive language; we do not separate sounds and spellings to create choppy thought processes. We say "stop" not "s/t/o/p." We say "Seethebrowndog" rather than "See/the/brown/dog." Cursive handwriting mimics and reinforces the natural language flow of brain processing whereas the act of printing causes the brain to stop, start, and fragment the understanding and full use of language.

From my observations and experiences during 40 years of teaching children and adults with language and literacy delays, I strongly believe that cursive handwriting not only supports the acquisition of literacy, but actually teaches and reinforces basic reading skills! As a child does cursive writing, the rhythmic and purposeful movements of the hand and pencil echo and reinforce the child's thoughts and speech, matching and practicing those two basic and automatically acquired skills. Children master language without effort. With cursive writing, learners can see and feel the reading process pouring forth from their hands in reverse. Why would such a tool not help to make up for missing and/or ineffective classroom instruction and curriculum?

Instead of putting an end to the teaching of cursive, schools would be very wise to introduce and begin cursive instruction earlier – in First Grade – using a curriculum such as Cursive First. (More information here.) Every child would be the better for it; would be further along towards a literate and productive future. Print instruction can easily be delayed until literacy skills are solidified and until there is even a need for neat print...like in high school drafting classes.

As usual in the bass-ackwards world of education, teachers, administrators, and decision makers neither notice not understand the problems and consequences of forcing children – who naturally listen and speak in cursive – to shatter the natural linkages of language by stop & start printing of separated and fractured phonemes. Frankly, it is a wonder that any children learn to read and write while being given damaging instruction using counter-intuitive methods.

But therein lies the root of the failure of America's educational systems...the Decision Makers never seem to wonder. They never wonder if Weirdo-Fad A will actually improve student learning and retention. They never wonder if Strange-Activity B will do more harm than good. They never wonder why American prisons are full of 3rd grade level readers. (Hint: The Look-Say Method lifts learners to that level. The deaf, who lack the ability to hear, store, retrieve, and use any phonetic information, too often graduate high school with Third Grade reading levels.)

Most importantly, the Educated Idiot Decision Makers never wonder if they should first try Counter-Productive-Fad Z on a test population before inflicting it on every child in the nationwide schooling system. How maddening that these so-called-experts never even wonder if the failure of the schools; the diminishing of potential in tens of millions of individuals; and the ultimate destruction of America should be blamed on them. (Note: It should.)

Not only do these so-called experts fail to wonder, they, themselves are apparently not fully and competently literate. I doubt that they even understand that "being literate" involves more than earning a fluctuating-pass score on some non-standardized test like the Michigan MEAP. When I was in school (in Michigan, 1953-1966), literacy was taught during classes and lessons in: Reading. Spelling. Writing. Penmanship. Grammar. Vocabulary development. Literature. Diagramming. Rhetoric. Oration. Debate. Foreign language. Linguistics. Comparisons vs. contrasts. Biased and slanted journalism. Critical analysis, and more. Much more.

Logical and literate individuals should be incapable of making the utterly inexcusable decisions that these so-called-experts make regarding educational methods. I conclude that those "experts" either act with Stupidity or with Evil Intent. Look at their record and decide. They insisted that schools throw out phonics. They dismissed the importance of neat handwriting. They put a stop to the precise teaching of grammar. They negated the value of spelling lessons, claiming that there are "hundreds of spelling rules and an exception to break every one of them." (Aside: There are only 29 spelling rules and almost anything that appears to be an exception is really a word of foreign origin. Try as America might, it has no power to force foreign languages to fit English spelling and grammar rules.) These stupid...or evil...decision makers have pushed the children of America over one New Math cliff after another New-New Math cliff. These educated fools are so lacking in wonder and so devoid of intelligence, ethics, and conscience that the only recommendation they can now make is to..."not teach"! Teachers are now ordered to push the use of computers, spell checkers, calculators, writing groups, peer editing, peer tutoring, student-discovery of algorithms, and worse. Now, the Educated Idiot Decision Makers summarily dismiss cursive instruction.

With the end of cursive classes, the die will be cast and the loss of potential immeasurable. Our future citizens will not even be able to have a signature! They will not be able to "Sign here" and will instead need to print their names or resort to the pre-literate "Make your mark here____." However, future signatures will be the least of our worries. Literacy rates are low now, but they are simply a warning of the near-total illiteracy that the end of cursive instruction will finalize. As the popular phrase goes, we have not seen anything yet.

The only hope of preventing the final act in the Progressives’ War on American Schools is to take back our local schools. We must demand that local schools reinstate the teaching of cursive instruction. We must insist that the children of America be assigned very competent teachers who not only use and teach accurate cursive for every aspect of instruction, but who also expect neatness and precision from the students, for all written work, on paper and on boards, black or otherwise. If we fail to rise up to fight and win this battle, it may be our last chance. God forbid.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Genie,

    I'm happy to see an education article. Education is very important, as you surely know. As a teacher, I agree with Linda Taylor's call to "take back our local schools."

    But I don't agree with her focus on cursive writing. I have long thought that for nearly all people, learning and practicing cursive is a waste of time. We don't need two kinds of writing -- both printing and cursive. Printing is obviously the better choice because it's standard, understandable by everybody, and it looks the same as the letters in books and on computers and typewriters.

    Signatures? We can simply put some flair into our printing, which I do anyway, adding an italics look to it. And the way we begin and end each stroke is more individualized than the continuous lines of cursive writing.

    Experience with other languages is especially helpful in realizing what's important and what works. Take Japanese, please! Actually, Japanese is very easy to learn for listening and speaking. That's because each vowel is pronounced only one way. In English, each vowel has multiple pronunciations -- difficult to learn. Also, Japanese consonants are well fixed. But in English, we pronounce "c" as /s/, /sh/, and /k/. And "t" as /t/ and /sh/ and even /d/. But MOST noteworthy is that Japanese is horrendous to learn for writing and reading. Why? Because they have FOUR ways of writing. You see, printing and cursive in English could count as two ways. Japanese has FOUR ways, and each is more different from each other than printing is from cursive.

    As for overall learning of language and expression of language, here's how we do it:

    (After we learn the sounds of the letters in the alphabet:) First, we learn WORDS. And then we learn enough words to make SENTENCES -- which is bliss. After that, we learn more words so we can make more sentences to talk about everything we want to talk (or write) about --ideas! And REPETITION is a giant requirement.

    Why do we learn a foreign language slowly and quickly forget it? We don't keep repeating it. We don't repeatedly use it.

    Why do we remember English (if it's our first language or main language) so well? Because we constantly use it, constantly repeating the words and expressions we like and want to use.

    The learning of new words, and the reading of good writing, and the writing of good writing, should not be obstructed by having to learn or use more than one kind of writing. Printing is plenty.

    So, I say bye-bye cursive. I appreciate cursive, but it is in no way important for most of us.

    OH! I almost forgot. Linda Taylor shows no awareness of who the destroyers of our educational system truly are. She says, "the Educated Idiot Decision Makers," which may be true for low-level decision makers. But the higher levels and the top level of decision makers are jews. At that level, they know quite well how they are destroying the educational system(s) for all nonjews. They've known it very well since Rockefeller and Carnegie took control of the national policy-making in education a hundred years ago.

    I've attended five colleges and universities in the USA, and now realize that most of the presidents of them and many administrators and department heads were jews -- crypto-jews, of course. By their physical features, by their names, and by their actions of undermining truly educational principles and installing jew-business rules of operation. I say "jew-business" because of the deceit involved. Many nonjews do business honestly. But that's not what jew-business does. If you work in various colleges and universities, as I have, you see the destructive and out-of-place secrecy, the dishonesty, and the standard business-type propaganda spewed from the top.

    We must overthrow the entirety of conspiring-jewry's control in our country. Until then, focusing on lesser matters, whether cursive or print <:-), won't fix anything.

    Sincerely,
    James

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  2. Hey James-
    I appreciate your input since you are a teacher. I was looking at it in a traditional sense (you know those Jews like to rob us of our traditions). I took pride in my handwriting in school, it was an art although my own children couldn't care less when it comes to handwriting. But it CAN be such a thing of beauty...especially with an ink pen. I use to always have one because I traveled, being an Air Force brat so wrote letters to my friends...
    Oh well I learned shorthand too but I think it's obsolete now.
    Whatever Linda said I just took her word for it so it's good you chimed in with your own expert opinion for balance.

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  3. Those who have more time now should home school.

    The public school system will fall apart and be a half-way house to prison and child care.

    American educational standards have fallen from the times before the school system. Prussia designed it for their economic and military machine!

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  4. Hi fun,
    Thanks for pointing that out. Don't care much for the idea of isolated homeschooling (kids need other kids and moms need a break) but hopefully there will be a community effort for friends and neighbors to get creative and pool their talents.

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If you sit by a river long enough, you'll see the body of your enemy float by.
Old Japanese proverb