By Araceli Galarza Posted: December 18, 2020
Someone had to say it, so I will; teaching cursive throughout grade school was the most significant waste of time and hand strength. Many of my friends used to kill themselves over perfecting their penmanship. Teachers always made it out to be like it would be the single most important life lesson we learned. Little did I know once I got up to middle school that the heartache and the pain that I put my hand through weren’t going to amount to anything more than a “P” for passing on my elementary school report cards.
Instead, we should start implementing something useful, something like American Sign Language (ASL). According to Gallaudet University, less than 1 percent of the United States population is deaf. However, 35,000,000 people, or 13% of the population, report having trouble hearing.
According to the US Census, “Across all age groups, in the United States, approximately 1,000,000 people (0.38% of the population, or 3.8 per 1,000) over 5 years of age are “functionally deaf…”
Now, this is the real kicker, many deaf people are at an incredible disadvantage.
“… 98% of deaf people do not receive education in sign language, 72% of families do not sign with their deaf children, 70% of deaf people don’t work or are underemployed, 1 in 4 deaf people has left a job due to discrimination, 1 in 4 deaf women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, compared to 1 in 10 hearing women,” according to Communication Services
I had never met anyone who was deaf until I began waitressing. I have met so many deaf people, and it is tough not to understand what they need. After this, I learned a little more about ASL, simple things such as your welcome and thank you when I tell you that the smile on their face was the brightest thing. Something as simple as a hand gesture.
This is why elementary schools need to start teaching ASL. An entire society can’t be reached but can easily be with the simple act of learning.
“The benefits of learning sign language at an early age are numerous. American Sign Language (ASL) is one of the most widely used languages in the United States, and the fourth-most studied second language at American universities,” according to leadwithlanguages.org.
Not only will you communicate with over 30% of the United States population, but you can earn scholarships too. Three years of learning how to write the same 26 letters in a fancy font that computers can do for us. Spending three years learning sign language can benefit so much more.