Pharos-Tribune

State News

January 7, 2013

State legislators plan push to require cursive writing in school

INDIANAPOLIS — A bill that would require Indiana’s public schools to teach cursive writing is one of the first items that may come up for debate as the Indiana General Assembly begins its 2013 session.

The bill, sponsored by Republican state senators Jean Leising of Oldenburg and Mike Delph of Carmel, would reverse a 2011 Indiana Department of Education decision that made teaching cursive writing optional.  

The proposed legislation is scheduled for its first committee hearing Wednesday — just two days after the legislative session started — along with several other education-related bills.

“This is one of the issues that people in our districts talk about,” Leising said. “If you can’t write in cursive, how are you going to sign a legal document?”

Delph echoed Leising’s concerns: “I routinely have people show up at my town hall meetings and say, ‘Why aren’t we teaching cursive anymore? Why aren’t we requiring that it be taught?”

The reason: Under the national Common Core State Standards adopted by the Indiana State Board of Education in 2010, elementary school students are no longer required to be proficient in cursive writing.

They are, however, required to be proficient in computer keyboarding skills by the time they leave elementary school.

In April 2011, state Department of Education officials sent a memo to local school administrators in Indiana telling them that they had the option of dropping cursive writing so they could focus more on helping students become more proficient in keyboard use.

While the state doesn’t keep track of school districts that teach cursive writing, state officials said Monday that they haven’t heard of any school districts that have quit teaching it.

The debate over the usefulness of learning how to write in cursive is playing out in states across the nation. Those in favor of cursive argue it hones motor skills and reinforces literacy. Those who see it as dispensable argue it takes up valuable teaching time better spent on other subjects.

In the 2012 session, Leising pushed for similar legislation, which passed out of the state Senate but died in the House when the bill didn’t get a hearing. She thinks there may be more support this year, given the change of leadership at the state education department.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, who leaves office on Jan. 14, was a strong advocate of the Common Core State Standards. Glenda Ritz, the Democrat who defeated Bennett in his November bid for re-election, has called for the state board of education to re-evaluate the Common Core standards.

Ritz declined to comment on the cursive writing bill since she hasn’t had a chance to review its language.

The cursive-writing bill hasn’t found the support of state Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis, who chairs the House education committee. Behning said he’s “not inclined” at this point to support the bill by giving it a hearing if it passes out of the Senate.

But Leising plans to argue that cursive writing is still an essential skill that needs to be taught. To illustrate that point, she said one of her legislative staff members who took the standardized test required for graduate school had to answer an essay question using cursive writing.

Two of the common standardized tests for entrance to college, the SAT test and Advanced Placement exams, also call for handwritten essays.

On Wednesday, the Senate education committee will also consider a bill, authored by Delph, that seeks to give local school administrators at top-performing schools more flexibility to set class schedules and curriculum as they see fit.

Under the bill, administrators in school districts that have high graduation rates and high student scores on standardized tests, wouldn’t be bound by the state’s 180-day class schedules. Those schools could also develop their own curriculum, and create their own teacher evaluations and career and technical training programs.

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • NWS - KT072214 - Ryan Ledbetter mugshot - CLG [Duplicate] Bunker Hill councilman arrested for firing gun BUNKER HILL – A member of the Bunker Hill Town Council was arrested Saturday after police say he broke a no-contact order with his children’s mother and fired a gun inside a trailer park near Peru. Indiana State Police responded to the Woodland Hill

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lowe's plans 1,000-worker Indianapolis call center INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Home-improvement retailer Lowe's says it will open a new call center in Indianapolis that could have up to 1,000 employees in the next couple years. The North Carolina-based retailer announced Tuesday that it would spend about $20

    July 22, 2014

  • 2 men die in separate apparent drownings near Rockville and Morocco ROCKVILLE, Ind. (AP) — State conservation officers say two Indiana men have died in separate apparent drownings. Officers say 29-year-old Terry Johnson of Veedersburg died after divers pulled him Monday from Raccoon Lake near the Parke County town of

    July 22, 2014

  • Former Hartford City councilman sentenced for child molesting HARTFORD CITY (AP) — A former northeastern Indiana city councilman and retired teacher has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on child molesting charges. A Blackford County judge ordered the sentence on Monday against 66-year-old John Adams. He ple

    July 22, 2014

  • 6 Indiana projects get national humanities grants INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Three universities in Indiana have been awarded a total of $1.25 million in grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The endowment announced Monday that Indiana University's Indianapolis branch campus is receiving $1

    July 22, 2014

  • Indiana governor's residence gets honey bee hive INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's Governor's Residence is getting a bee hive to call its own. First lady Karen Pence was scheduled to unveil a honey bee hive Tuesday morning at the Governor's Residence on Indianapolis' north side. The hive and its bees w

    July 22, 2014

  • Indiana man pleads not guilty to courthouse threat HAMMOND (AP) — A man has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he threatened to blow up an Indiana courthouse and kill judges and police officers. Twenty-two-year-old Samuel Bradbury of Pine Village entered the plea during a federal court hearin

    July 22, 2014

  • 2 in custody after Greene County man found slain in home SOLSBERRY (AP) — Indiana State Police say two men considered persons of interest have been taken into custody after a Greene County man was found slain in his rural home. Sgt. Curt Durnil says Indianapolis police took 35-year-old Jason Lee Caldwell o

    July 21, 2014

  • Indiana's bills for highway damage face challenge INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A trucking company is asking the state appeals court to limit the Indiana Department of Transportation's authority to sue over damage done to state highways. The challenge is in court as the highway agency is trying to collect mor

    July 21, 2014

  • Downed jet victim was NW Indiana exchange student DEMOTTE (AP) — An Indiana University graduate student's boyfriend who died with her on the downed plane in Ukraine had spent six months in northwestern Indiana as a high school exchange student. Jenny Jonkman says Laurens Van Der Graaff came from the

    July 21, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

The Pence administration continues to cut Indiana agency budgets despite a state surplus of $2 billion. Is this wise management of state funds?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.