Paperless committee considers bill to require cursive writing

January 9th, 2013 at 4:27 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

There’s an effort underway at the Statehouse to preserve cursive writing.  It’s no longer required in Indiana schools.  The digital age has educators making new choices and, suddenly, keyboarding is more important than cursive writing.

This was irony, meantime, when the Senate Education Committee considering a bill to restore cursive writing started its first hearing of the year under new circumstances.  It’s paperless.  “I’ve never had an I-pad and never worked on one till this Monday,” said committee chairman Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) as he launched the meeting,  “so, this is new to me.”

And while technology marches on, the question is:  should students in Indiana schools continue to learn the old way?  “We could be creating a generation of kids that, if the battery’s dead or the power’s out, they won’t know the value of a pen, pencil or piece of paper,” bill author Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldbenburg.)

A handwriting expert, Kathleen Wright of Zener-Bloser Publishing in Columbus, supported a change in the law.  “Many of us actually think better when we write down by hand,” she said.  “Handwriting is actually brain writing.  It’s the way the brain learns.”

And the only opposition came from educators who question the need for lawmakers to get involved.  “When you get into requiring, then are we going to develop standards,” said Sally Sloan of the American Federation of Teachers. “Is that something that needs to be done?  If that happens are we going to test?”

The committee won’t vote on the cursive writing bill until next week at the earliest and here’s some more irony:  Indiana schools aren’t required to teach reading, either.  A teaching requirement for reading may be added to this bill in the next week.

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