Friday, November 15, 2013

The Decline of America

Every now and then something happens that seriously riles me.  Hearing that the schools will no longer teach cursive writing is one of them.  Apparently some schools are fighting back after they heard that cursive would be dropped from the curriculum.

Over the years, our history books have been changed, obliterated, white-washed, and diluted until kids don't have a clear picture of our history.  Granted, with each generation, there is so much more history to learn, they can't teach every single thing, but the high points should be left intact.

You may have seen an email or article of what an 8th grade exam was like in 1912.  Most high school seniors would fail this exam today.

Back to cursive writing though;  I see so many problems with not being able to write.  Some people choose to print, even as adults, and that is their choice, but most probably know how to write in cursive.  Cursive is so much quicker, and I for one, would rather use a day planner and write down notes, to do lists, and grocery lists by hand.  It's much faster and I don't have to plug in my planner to charge it up.  The younger generation may consider that old school, but they appreciate typography.  Beautiful handwriting from days gone by is all over the internet these days in craft projects and decorating.  These could be as simple as a grocery receipt, but the handwriting is so beautiful, it is used and appreciated as art.  I don't think generations to come will be printing out old text messages to use in that way.  Word abbreviations, slang, and sideways smiley faces aren't nearly as decorative as French typography.  For that matter, where will we learn our history?  We've learned much of what we know of the past from letters.  They told the stories of current events, daily life, and the emotions of the people who wrote them. 

The day of letter writing is almost extinct.  Few people even write thank you notes these days, and that's a shame.  It's a form of courtesy that is also dying, unfortunately. 

When you compare that 1912 8th grade exam to todays tests, it is clear that our schools are dumbing down.  America used to be a nation that everyone looked to and aspired to be like or a place they wanted to live. 

Many schools today are nothing more than day prisons and the teachers are the wardens.  Parents believe their children to be angels when they are anything but angels.  I don't have an answer for how to change this, but one thought is to start moving the curriculum back toward the way it was in the past. 

Don't stop scoring a game if one team is beating the other one, 'so no one gets their feelings hurt.'  Life is hard and sometimes you lose the game.  The sooner kids learn that, the sooner they can learn to be graceful losers and to try harder. 

Since many parents are failing in the manners department, that should be taught in pre-school and enforced through high school.  You will go much farther in life if you are kind and polite than if you are demanding and abrasive.  Foul language should not be tolerated.  Too many parents let it fly at home and are shocked when little Johnny says the "F" word at school.  Teaching kids to reason out a problem is important.  They need to be able to see the consequences of their actions, so they can choose the best course of action for the best result.

I could go on and on about this, but I'll get off my high horse and let it rest. 

I learned cursive handwriting in 3rd grade.  At eight years old, we used our cartridge fountain pens to practice writing.  Perfect cursive letters were written in white on a green background and bordered the top of the room in our classroom.  I looked forward to writing lessons.  It was almost like drawing, which I also liked doing.   Did you notice in the top picture that handwriting was called slate work back in the early 1900's?  We have come a long way since then, but not all progress is positive.  In some ways, we have gone backwards.

My grandmother was born in 1897.  I have her McGuffys' Reader.  This is the first grade reader.  Each lesson includes a sentence to write and the handwriting example was gorgeous with swoops and curls.  It was an art form taught early back then and I hate to see it disappear. 

What if your iphone needs to be charged up and you can't write?  Oh No!!!  What can you do?

I refer back to my comments on reasoning and common sense.