A sign of the times

Will there come a day when not a single student will ever hear, “Please put your John Hancock in the upper righthand corner of your paper?”

We hope not.

While cursive writing is still faintly present in public school buildings across the state, it seems nowadays the practice isn’t as bold as Hancock’s signature on the Declaration of Independence, from where the expression originated.

What was once a daily practice on that familiar yellow, dotted-lined paper is but a brief lesson hurried through so that the class can get on to the important stuff — assessment testing.

It’s OK if the kids don’t perfect it. It’s OK if they don’t retain it.

We think that’s not OK. And here’s why:

5 Issuing a check.

5 Applying to college.

5 Using a credit card.

5 Filling out a job application.

5 Buying a home.

5 Legalizing a marriage license.

5 Signing a birth certificate.

5 Submitting income taxes.

5 Authorizing a medical procedure.

5 Creating a will.

5 Writing a letter. (Remember those?)

5 … and on and on.

While electronic signatures are becoming increasingly popular in an ever-evolving technological world, these are all things that still require good old-fashioned cursive writing for documentation.

We aren’t opposed to a changing society — if there was no need for cursive writing, then it wouldn’t be a problem to phase it out of the school system.

But clearly, there is still a need, and today’s children should be equipped with the tools they need to perform these tasks as adults.

Unfortunately, the changes don’t end with cursive writing.

One major television news program recently reported that schools in the United Kingdom are throwing out analog clocks because in this digitized society, children there simply can’t read them.

And they, as well as children all over the world, aren’t being taught to do so.

While we feel a child can grow into adulthood leaning on the digital clock fairly easily to know what time it is, why phase the practice out all together?

Why not give them those lessons that can also bolster math skills and help them understand the passage of time by reading the moving hands?

Studies have also shown that watching time on an analog clock helps youngsters develop better time management skills.

Those are very important skills to have as an adult as they enter into the workforce.

Nostalgic clinging? Some may think so. Just like the hard passage of the VCR, the rotary telephone and the chance to draw, with a No. 2 lead pencil, Snap, Crackle and Pop from a cereal box.

But until there is no longer a need to put your John Hancock on a form that’s about to change your life in some way, we say be sure the students aren’t faced with the obstacle of not knowing how to do it.