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Senate committee passes cursive writing requirement, again

January 15, 2014

Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg, has not given up.

For the third straight year she has convinced the Indiana Senate Education Committee to pass a bill that requires schools to teach cursive writing.

“Mr. Chairman and members of the committee I so appreciate you taking the time to hear cursive writing one more time,” said Leising on Wednesday as she gave “a refresher” on the cursive bill she has presented twice before.

“This has a lot to do with brain development,” Leising said, “We shouldn’t automatically take for granted that our brain reads from left to right. It is actually a training our brain goes through connecting letters.”

In 2010, the State Board of Education made cursive writing optional for school curriculums. It was part of the board’s adoption of Common Core, a set of national standards that are now on hold in Indiana.

“Cursive writing got demoted because of the Common Core standards,” said Leising, “The Common Core did not include, specifically, any references to cursive writing and there was a shift toward keyboarding.”

Leising said she is not opposed to keyboarding. But she and “over 90 percent” of Hoosiers still support cursive writing being taught in school.

A group of Indiana University students wrote to Leising to show support for Senate Bill 113. Their names were signed on the back. But not everyone thought the lobbying technique worked.

“I think (the letter) reaches out to us to tell how ineffective teaching cursive writing is in schools, because I can’t read over half the names of all those kids who had cursive writing all the way through school,” said Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury. “I would much prefer to be able to read a printed name that I could actually read who it is.”

Leising argued legibility should not be the focus of the debate.

“It’s still an identifiable mark”, said Leising. “It is their mark, their signature.”

The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

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