Is cursive writing still taught in Central New York schools?

Rhiannon McElroy of Preble teaches her 11-year-old son Benjamin how to write his name in cursive.

Rhiannon McElroy is taking teaching into her own hands. The Preble mom is showing her 11-year-old son Benjamin something his school isn't, cursive writing.

"I hope that they don't lose the love of writing because losing the love of writing is not something I want for my own kids," says McElroy.

The reality is, there has been a shift that likely began with the growth of technology according to West Genesee School Superintendent, Dr. Chris Brown.

"You started teaching keyboarding and keyboarding skills in 1st or 2nd grade and it got to the point where the cursive piece wasn't needed as much as teaching students block print where they could see that letter and then see it on a keyboard," says Brown.

To some, it feels like an overnight shift. School officials admit cursive writing is no longer a priority in elementary education.

"It is taught but just in an informal way when a teacher has time," says Brown.

When asked if teachers have time with the restraints imposed by the common core curriculum, Brown admitted they don't.

"I would agree. Right now with the common core implementation, things like building rockets, teaching cursive writing, those things are unfortunately kind of on the shelf and are fit in when they can be fit in," says Brown.

As technology continues to evolve, there's a good chance cursive will never play a primary role in education again. With the one exception being teaching students to write their signature in cursive.

"That is one thing that is handled through elementary into middle school because you have to think of students getting their first library card. That is taught. So they at least know how to do their own name in a signature format," says Brown.

The writing is on the wall, but McElroy doesn't like what she sees.

"To hold a letter from my grandmother, that she handwrote to me and I'm able to read it. I want my daughter to look at the letter in 20 years and be able to read it too," says McElroy.

For Siegfried Snyder, cursive is not an ancient art. The retired Syracuse University professor has been handwriting entries in his journal everyday for the past 50 years. Snyder records his daily activities with beautiful flowing form thanks to calligraphy classes he took while studying architecture in his early 20's.

"Very early in the game I became interested in handwriting and handwriting analysis," says Snyder.

Fascinated with the hand-written word, he learned how the size and shape of your letters and the space between words can tell a story about who you are.

"When I look through my own journals I can see what kind of mood I was in in a sense. So handwriting is self expression in a way," says Snyder.

Over the years, his beloved handwriting has been replaced with computers as elementary students learn typing instead of cursive.

Brown calls it a sign of the times.

"I haven't seen anything detrimental in terms of learning taking place by not learning cursive as a regular piece of the curriculum," says Brown.

But Siegfried and his wife Rene beg to differ, fearing the accomplishments of their generation and generations past will be lost.

"If you don't teach kids to write anymore, what's left? The old documents, nobody will read anymore," says Snyder.

Cursive writing was the way of the land when primary documents like the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written. Without cursive as a part of the curriculum, many worry future students will loose the ability to interpret historical resources.

For the Snyders, it's hard to believe we may have reached the end of an era, where cursive writing is a thing of the past.

"I just don't understand what the world will come to when we take that away when they cant write a letter anymore. It's a sad situation," says Snyder.

In this digital age, we may be signing off on a signature style that defined a generation.