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The Lost Art

As markets recovered over the past few years, we have been hiring young professionals with sterling educational credentials and high potential. They are smart as a whip and understand, and reinforce, the disruptive era in which we transact business today.

The only wrinkle is that they cannot write. The vast majority of recent graduates were never taught penmanship, so today unless they have a keyboard in tow, all they can produce is illegible chicken scratch.

Elementary schools have generally abandoned cursive writing skills, so kids are ushered through the educational system never learning to write. A recent nationwide test found that only 24% of students in eighth and 12th grades were proficient in writing.

This manifests itself in interesting ways. For example, when Lew was nominated to be Treasury secretary in 2013, President Barack Obama joked that as a condition of the appointment, Lew would have to learn to sign his name more legibly. The secretary’s signature, after all, was going to appear on US currency.

I am heartened however by recent news that school districts around the country have had an epiphany, and are mandating the reintroduction of cursive writing instruction. Kids are feeling good about it too. It’s sort of cool and “hip” to be able to write.

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