Lawmakers hear why cursive should come back to classrooms

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Lawmakers tackled education during day three of the legislative session Wednesday.

Dozens of people packed into a room to hear the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development discuss bills that  would bring cursive back to the classroom and reward high performing schools by allowing them to choose and develop their own curriculum.

Senator Mike Delph, R-District 29, authored Senate Bill 189, which would give Indiana’s top school corporations the freedom to choose, develop and implement their own curriculum.

“By rewarding high performance in communities like Carmel and Zionsville and others, we are empowering teachers, staff, principals, administrators, school board members to take our better public schools and take them to a new level, to better compete in this global economy,” said Delph.

This was the second year SB 120 was introduced. It would require every Indiana school district and accredited non-public elementary school to include cursive writing in its curriculum.

“If children are not taught to write in cursive, they won’t be able to read in cursive,” said the bill’s author Senator Jean Leising, R-District 42.

Leising said this year, she is pushing harder and offering research which shows cursive could be important for a child’s growth and development.

“The SAT people were saying that students that actually write their essay in cursive are scoring overall 15 percent higher on an SAT than those that print!” she said.

She’s hoping a change in the top education spot will move her bill through this year.

“I have to assume that since it did not get a hearing in the House, that the Department of Ed did not want their position reversed,” said Leising. “We have a new Superintendent so I’m hopeful that maybe we’ll see a difference in the feeling on this, but time will tell.”

There have also been renewed talks about restoring funding for education.

“K-12 and higher education is one of our top priorities for restoration of funding,” said House Speaker Brian Bosma.

The Senate Committee votes next Wednesday.

3 comments

  • Tom D.

    What a waste of time teaching the archaic art of cursive writing. Better to use this time to teach our kids something more useful in life that can lead to better paying jobs and fiscal responsibility. Science and Technology is where we are falling behind compared to the rest of the world, not cursive writing. Typical backward Indiana that hates any kind of change.

    • Clareena D

      There is cursive handwriting technology Online which can also be rewarding with technology! Different kinds of writing could be rewarding to some.

  • Kate Gladstone

    The only problem with Senator Leising's "15% higher" statistical claim is that it is false. According to the public relations office of the "SAT people" — correctly known as the Educational Testing Service — the difference between SAT scores of cusive writers and other writers was nowhere near 15 percent. The difference was 1/5 of a point, on an exam worth several thousand points, and was only on the essay section of the SAT, not on the whole exam as Leising implied. In fact, that tiny difference between scores of cursive writers versus other writers was so tiny that it was even smaller than the score difference between male students and female students, the score difference between students who di (or don't) happen to use the word "I" or "me" in their essays, and other individual differences that the Senator has not yet thought of legislating against. For corroboration, below is a link to the Educational Testing Service's official report on SAT score breakdowns: the information about cursive writers versus other writers (showing the sheer minuteness of the actual difference involved) is on page 5 of the document — http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/about/

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