Senator Tries To Mandate Cursive Writing In School - Again
Sen. Leising's bill would reverse 2011 recommendation from Ed. Dept.
For the second straight year, a state senator wants to make cursive handwriting the law in Indiana schools.
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Republican Senator Jean Leising is among those pushing a bill that would reverse a 2011 decision by the Department of Education to make the teaching of cursive writing optional. It's the same bill that passed the Senate in 2012, but died in the House when it didn't receive a hearing in committee.
While she uses cursive every day, Leising says her bill is based on studies that show teaching cursive benefits the brain development of children. "There are some really significant studies that show that there's a relationship between brain development; the hand movements used in handwriting activate regions of the brain that are associated with thinking and short term memory."
Though today's society is based more around typing via the use of computers and mobile devices, Leising says everyone still has to know how to write their name and how to communicate when those devices aren't working. "I thought, gee, if children are not taught how to write cursive, even if they don't have to use it as they continue in school, the whole thing is they won't know how to read cursive in the work place if someone writes them a quick note rather than sends them an email."
The option to no longer teach cursive writing is part of Indiana's move to join the national Common Core Standards, which the State Board of Education approved in 2010. The Common Core says that elementary school students are no longer required to be proficient in cursive writing, saying teachers should concentrate on their keyboarding skills instead. There is no documentation of any school district in Indiana that has dropped cursive writing instruction.
Leising believes a change at the top of the education department might help the chances for her bill this year. Newly elected State School Superintendent Glenda Ritz, who takes office next week, was critical of Common Core during the campaign. She has not commented on the cursive writing bill.