|Figure 1. You can read this, right?|
Actually, I agree with a lot of her reasoning:
1. More people are writing more than ever before, so the kids are all right. (Pretty much true).
2. Typed work levels the playing field since bad handwriting can prejudice teachers (which is true).
3. The current proponents of cursive have seen it as a patriotic act, which is pretty sinister (which is sort of true and really one of the strongest arguments). Typing is more small-d democratic.
4. She and her son had a hard time learning it, so it's not needed. (Can't judge this one.)
1. Everyone has a keyboard or phone (and by extension is presumably wirelessly connected, with fully charged keyboard/phone) at all times. (Nope, not buying this one. Do we have free hardware and free software and free connectivity for everyone in this country? Disgracefully, no. )
2. It's not important to be able to read cursive, since only "experts" can read documents in cursive: "Reading that 18th-century document [the Declaration of Independence] in the original is difficult for most people who know cursive, as the script is now unfamiliar." Proof? Source? No, it's not difficult to read. It's not necessary, though, to be able to read it in cursive, although this seems to be an obsession with the #3 people above.
The stronger corollary is that these documents are also written in foreign languages, which, although she doesn't say it, is something the U.S. more or less gave up on a while back.
3. She glides over all the studies that show that students who write notes by hand--which is NOT the same as cursive--retain information better.
Where Anne Trubek and I agree most is on this benign and sweeping conclusion: "The cultural values we project onto handwriting will alter as we do, as they have for the past 6,000 years."
As I've argued a lot on this blog, unlike Anne Trubek, I think that handwriting and/or cursive is important but isn't a hill to die on. But like other forms of creativity or self-expression (or the humanities, for that matter), we need to think a little before we can argue for its elimination on utilitarian grounds.
Every time some form of handcraft goes extinct, whether it's canning or calligraphy or drama clubs or music--or, worse, becomes a class marker, as in prep schools will teach it but public schools will not--we lose a little something of our small-d democratic systems.