Nearly the whole of the US has stopped teaching joined-up writing in schools. Soon we will be doing the same here
by Michele Hanson
"It is time to panic. Another US state, Indiana, can't be fagged to teach joined-up writing in its primary schools. US core standards say it doesn't have to, so it isn't going to. It is the 42nd state to give up on joined-up writing and concentrate on keyboard skills. That is nearly the whole of the US, and if it is doing it, you can bet your life we will soon be doing it – which means the end of civilisation as we know it. In my opinion.
It will be goodbye to improved hand-eye co-ordination, individuality, personal touch, diaries, thank-you and love letters, fine motor control, communication with anyone who isn't glued to a screen, and pretty gorgeous italic handwriting such as mine.
"You're past your sell-by date," says Fielding rudely. "We've moved on. You're flogging a dead duck."
No I am not. Even Rosemary agrees. She is thrilled when a handwritten letter plops through the letter box. "But I'm not expecting them to go back to dip-pens, inkwells and blotting paper," says she. "They can use ballpoint pens." How moderate she is. Ballpoint pen-writing doesn't look half as lovely, and has no character. Were I in charge, I'd have fountain pens with levers, and half-an-hour compulsory joined-up practice a day in all junior schools, otherwise, before we know it, they'll all be signing their names with an X, and it will be only e-birthday and Christmas cards, so you won't be able to put them on your mantelpiece. Don't ever send me an e-card, anybody, thank you very much.
Not that I don't appreciate technology. It is bliss to be able to cut, paste, copy, scan, send and all the rest of it in a millisecond, but we need both. Old and new, otherwise one day, when all the power goes, or some crazed hyper-blogger manages to cock-up the whole system and everything ever written on screens dwiddles off into the ether, I and all the others you techno-people have dismissed as nostalgic wets stuck in the dark ages, will be proved right, and we'll be out in what's left of the streets, writing our memoirs by hand and shouting: "I TOLD YOU SO."