Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

January 23, 2013

Leising’s cursive writing bill passes

Greensburg Daily News

Indianapolis — A bill authored by State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) to require Indiana elementary schools to include cursive writing and reading in their curriculum passed the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development Wednesday — “National Handwriting Day” — with  a vote of 7-4.

With a push from the Indiana Department of Education to align state education standards with Common Core Standards, cursive writing has become an optional part of school curriculum since 2011. Leising said Senate Bill 120 is critical to ensuring Indiana students are receiving a well-rounded education and, what’s more, to promoting child development.

“Child psychologists, doctors and researchers have used neuro-imaging scans to show finger movement associated with handwriting activates regions in the brain linked to cognitive, language and even motor processes,” Leising said. “In other words, cursive writing isn’t just a good ability to have. It’s not just about being able to read cursive writing in the future, eliminating a possible communication gap between generations. Instead, we are now hearing that handwriting skills are crucial for success in school, basic development and learning potential in general.”

At least five other states — including Alabama, California, Georgia, Kansas and Massachusetts — have already passed cursive writing curriculum requirements.

“Keyboarding, a skill mandated under Common Core Standards, is an important talent children also need to develop,” Leising said. “I will be the first to admit that I enjoy using technology just as much as anyone else. However, our state cannot overlook the value of classic handwriting.”

Leising also amended her legislation to require reading as a part of Indiana elementary schools’ curriculum. She said, after a meeting with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, she learned “language arts” is the subject required by Indiana code and “reading” is not specified.

To date, 12 other senators have signed their support to Leising’s cursive writing legislation as coauthors. SB 120 now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.

— Daily News