By Makenna Mays
INDIANAPOLIS – Cursive writing may no longer be a skill of the past if state Sen. Jean Leising’s bill to mandate that dying art in Indiana schools gets a hearing in the House of Representatives.
“Cursive writing is a skill everyone should have, as we use our signature to make purchases, validate our driver’s license and sign agreements,” said Leising, R-Oldenburg, in a statement.
Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg, wants to mandate cursive handwriting in Indiana schools. Photo by Lindsay Wenning, TheStatehouseFile.com
Seventy percent of educators surveyed by the state Department of Education said they support teaching cursive handwriting in schools. Those responding to the voluntary survey were elementary and secondary education teachers, principals, superintendents and members of school governing bodies.
“Given the results of this survey, I plan to file a bill during the 2018 legislative session that would require cursive writing to be taught in school,” Leising said.
Teresa Meredith, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association, was not surprised by the results of the survey.
“We’ve known for a while that most teachers support it,” said Meredith. “They see it as something that is part of improving fine motor skills, developmental skills and something they need to learn.”
Because there are so many benefits to learning cursive as well as documents that require a signature, Meredith said that many teachers believe it is an important life skill.
“There is research to show that are brain synapses that happen when certain skills are taught and when certain movements of the hand happen,” Meredith said.
Meredith also said that she sees a basic grasp of cursive being important for the foreseeable future. However, she believes that it should be a local decision for school corporations when it comes to mandating cursive.
While some schools may want it woven into their curriculum, others may want to do something fun like a camp cursive.
“I would hate to see it mandated to be a certain amount of time so many days a week,” said Meredith. “I would really like to see it be something that is determined in terms of it’s implemented at a local level.”
Leising said that she is looking forward to senators joining her on the legislation.
I hope the results of this survey will help my bill finally get a hearing in the House of Representatives,” Leising said.
She has introduced the proposed legislation six times in the past and while it has passed the Senate it has failed to gain traction in the House.
Makenna Mays is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.