Senator trying again to require cursive handwriting instruction

A primer shows cursive handwriting. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Do you think cursive writing is important?

Important enough to be in every Indiana school?

One lawmaker thinks so and, after years of trying, said she thinks she’s got it this time.

Some teachers say cursive writing is a valuable skill.

AmySue Bacon, a third-grade teacher, said, “I use it every day when I write checks, and I write letters and sign my name on things.”

Bacon teaches cursive to her students at St. Richard’s Episcopal School in Indianapolis.

“It allows us some time that’s very self-reflective when we’re working on our cursive and looking at ways we can improve our process,” Bacon said.

She said cursive writing and working on handwriting can stimulate brain activity and cognitive development. She said she believes her students will use the skills they’re learning today as adults.

“It’s not only a life skill, but it’s something that’s quite enjoyable and can be very kind of centering when you learn how to do that,” Bacon said.

That’s part of the reason state Sen. Jean Leising, a Republican from Oldenburg, is creating legislation mandating cursive handwriting be taught in Indiana schools. She co-authored a bill requiring an Indiana Department of Education study that recently found some 70 percent of educators support it.

Leising said,  “I think that suddenly we’re going to have legislators saying, ‘Oh, what’s going on? Why did we quit teaching cursive?'”

For the last six years, Leising has tried to get a bill passed. Each time, falling flat in the House. This time, she said she believes it’ll stick.

Leising said, “What happens is our education chairman in the House apparently doesn’t think it’s necessary. So, he doesn’t give it a hearing. I think if it were given the opportunity for a floor vote, it would pass.”

An 8-year-old who is learning cursive in Bacon’s class, Soren Hembre, said he likes learning and using cursive in class.

“Some people might think cursive might be the best thing to do and that it’s a waste of time,” Hembre said. “But, It’s actually very important, it should at least be recommended.”

His teacher, Bacon, said she’ll keep teaching and using cursive.

“I know it’s beneficial in my class, so I think it could be beneficial for all classes,” she said.

Leising said she plans on introducing the bill in January.