For the older folks among us, a memo from state education officials in the spring of 2011 that cursive writing would no longer be a part of the required curriculum came as a bit of a shock.
We remember making entire rows of letters and being judged on whether we made the loops in precisely the right way. Learning the proper way to make a capital “A” and a small “t” were simply a part of growing up.
How could schools suddenly stop offering that instruction? What would become of a future generation of adults unable to sign their own names?
Since 2011, Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg, has carried a bill to reverse the decision that jettisoned penmanship in favor of keyboarding skills for elementary school students in Indiana. Her fellow senators have passed that bill each of the last seven years, and the House Education Committee has killed it.
Last session, she cited data in defense of her cause. According to WXIN-TV Indianapolis, the Indiana Department of Education surveyed Hoosier educators from Aug. 4, 2017, through Oct. 1, 2017. Of 3,878 respondents, 70 percent said they favored mandatory cursive writing instruction.
Fortunately for the traditionalists among us, Kokomo area school administrators told us in 2011 they had no plans to abandon the lessons in cursive writing.
Now other school districts can be secure in doing the same. Though Leising’s seventh attempt at mandating the teaching of cursive writing failed in 2018, a state law passed in the last session allows schools the option of cursive-writing instruction, along with religions of the world.
So, for now anyway, students in Kokomo area schools will continue to learn how to make the proper loop on a capital “L.” School officials in other districts have similar opinions on handwriting.
Of course, now that such instruction is no longer part of the required curriculum, we can guess time spent on it will continue to decline.
But the Legislature was right to stop short of mandating such curricula. Yet another law dictating what teachers should teach is not needed.