Cursive writing bill on the ropes, but not dead yet

(WISH photo)
(WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A push to revive cursive writing requirements in Indiana schools appears to be dead in House for the third straight year. But, the addition of a new ally in the state’s Department of Education is spurring those backing the plan to try a new approach.

Three years ago, the Indiana Board of Education made the instruction of cursive writing optional, mandating that keyboarding classes be taught instead.

Senator Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) wants to reverse that decision, by mandating that both cursive and keyboarding be taught in Indiana schools. Bills she filed to do so have passed the Senate in each of the last three years, most recently by a overwhelming 39-9 margin last week.

But, the measures have never been heard in the House.

Leising says that’s because the chairman of the House Education Committee, Rep. Robert Boehning, doesn’t support it. The bill has been assigned to his committee each year, but has never been called for a hearing.

“I think that’s because he is a proponent of Common Core, and that doesn’t include cursive,” Leising said. “It’s more focused on keyboarding and technical skills. And, I’m not trying to take those out. I’m not telling people not to learn keyboarding. I’m saying cursive shouldn’t disappear as they do.”

Leising says Boehing has indicated he is unlikely to call the bill for a hearing this session either.

So, with the backing of the Indiana Department of Education, Leising, says she plans to meet with House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) on Tuesday to ask for the bill to be reassigned to a new committee.

“I’m thinking this might fit in with the Family and Children Committee or perhaps another,” she said. “All we’re asking for is a chance to have the bill heard. And, I believe if it is given the opportunity for a floor vote, it would pass.”

Leising says she believes Bosma will be receptive to her request.

“There is clearly some precedent to this, and I don’t think we’re making an unreasonable request,” she said. “We’ll see next week.”

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