Lawmaker renews efforts to require schools to teach cursive

April 20, 2015

A longtime supporter of requiring Indiana schools to teach cursive writing is making her fifth attempt to restore the skill to Indiana's curriculum.

Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg, added the measure to an education bill moving through the General Assembly last week after a cursive writing bill she sponsored earlier in the session failed.

Leising said she expects the bill, which also would replace the ISTEP+ exam, to go to a conference committee, The Indianapolis Star reported. Tory Flynn, a spokeswoman for House Republicans, said no decision had been made on a conference committee.

The Indiana State Board of Education voted in 2011 to eliminate cursive as a requirement for student instruction and told school districts that it expected students to become proficient in keyboard use. Many districts nationally did the same when they adopted the national Common Core educational standards, which omitted penmanship classes for a variety of reasons, including increasing use of keyboarding and evidence that even most adults use some hybrid of classic cursive and print.

Leising has been trying to reinstate the requirement and sponsored cursive writing bills in 2012, 2013 and 2014 that failed.

The state Senate approved a cursive measure in 2012, but it didn't advance in the House.

Adding the measure to the House bill was a last-minute effort to get it passed this year, said Leising, who worries that younger generations won't be able to write cursive or read documents like the original version of the U.S. Constitution if the requirement isn't restored.

"I still have a pad of yellow Sticky Notes, and if I write out something neatly in cursive, I expect an intern at the Senate to be able to read that," she said.


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