For the last six years, I’ve authored legislation to require cursive writing in schools, but while each bill passed the Senate, none were given a hearing in the House of Representatives.
Cursive writing is an important skill all students should learn, as we use our signature to sign agreements, validate our driver’s license and make purchases. However, learning cursive goes beyond preparing students for everyday life.
For example, Dr. Karin Harman James of the Indiana University Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences found that cursive writing prepares students’ brains for reading and enhances their writing fluency and composition. Plus, College Board, which is responsible for the Scholastic Assessment Test or SAT, found that students who wrote the essay portion of the exam in cursive received higher scores than those who wrote in print.
Despite these benefits, cursive writing is no longer taught in many Indiana schools. To get an idea of school officials’ opinions on the issue, I co-authored Senate Enrolled Act 29 during the 2017 legislative session.
SEA 29 required the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) to conduct a voluntary survey asking Indiana elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, superintendents and members of governing bodies whether they support mandating cursive writing in school.
Last month, the IDOE released the results, finding that 77 percent of the nearly 4,000 people surveyed said they currently do not teach cursive writing. Yet, 70 percent of those who participated said they are in favor of a cursive writing mandate.
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. I look forward to several senators joining me on the legislation.
If you have questions, comments or concerns regarding this topic or others, contact me by email at Senator.Leising@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.
Full survey results can be viewed at https://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/news/cursive-writing-report.pdf