Senate committee passes cursive writing requirement – again



By Paige Clark

INDIANAPOLIS – Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg, has not given up.

For the third straight year she has convinced the Senate Education Committee to pass a bill that requires schools to teach cursive writing.

“Mr. Chairman and members of the committee I so appreciate you taking the time to hear cursive writing one more time,” said Leising as she gave “a refresher” on the cursive bill she has presented twice before.

“This has a lot to do with brain development,” Leising said, “We shouldn’t automatically take for granted that our brain reads from left to right. It is actually a training our brain goes through connecting letters.”

In 2010, the State Board of Education made cursive writing optional for school curriculums. It was part of the board’s adoption of Common Core, a set of national standards that are now on hold in Indiana.

“Cursive writing got demoted because of the Common Core standards,” said Sen. Leising, “The Common Core did not include, specifically, any references to cursive writing and there was a shift towards keyboarding.”

Leising said she is not opposed to keyboarding. But she and “over 90 percent” of Hoosiers still support cursive writing being taught in school.

A group of Indiana University students wrote to Leising to show support for Senate Bill 113. Their names were signed on the back. But not everyone thought the lobbying technique worked.

“I think (the letter) reaches out to us to tell how ineffective teaching cursive writing is in schools, because I can’t read over half the names of all those kids who had cursive writing all the way through school,” said Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury. “I would much prefer to be able to read a printed name that I could actually read who it is.”

Leising argues legibility should not be the focus of this debate.

“It’s still an identifiable mark”, said Leising. “It is their mark, their signature.”

The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Paige Clark is a reporter for the, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students. 


  1. That a bill has to be introduced to force school districts to teach cursive writing is indicative of the sad state of some of the districts.

  2. Cool! Lets also make typesetting, animal husbandry, stone carving, blacksmithing, and calligraphy requirements.

    (This message was typed out on a Smith Corona, sent to a telegraph service via carrier pigeon where it was lovingly recreated in morse code and transmitted trancontinentally. It was copied down in cursive and promptly destroyed.)

    • Heh. +1

      Don’t forget Roman Numerals and all the old English Measurements!

      Asimov wrote a piece called “Forget It! in the 1960’s about the things we should stop teaching to American schoolchildren.

      Small government at its finest!

    • I forgot fencing and falconry for preschoolers. It is IMPERATIVE these preschoolers become well equipped to meet the challenges of falconry in the 21st Century.

  3. I don’t know, part of me cringes at legislation so finite that it defines cursive writing, but then it is setting the standard for institutions not making it law that everyone must write in cursive. I think it is just part of brain development like reading literature or art.

    I wonder if we could add basic financial education like how money works and how to make a budget to the mix?

    • I’d much prefer more hand-on tech skills, apprenticeships, shop skills, mechanics, you know, stuff that might come in useful.

  4. Show me a study that says the ability to write in cursive makes kids smarter and I’d support this. Otherwise it just seems like nostalgia. Kind of like how we assume pot is bad because that’s been then norm for so long but in reality it’s harmless and Reagan lied to you.

    • Your first two sentences are perfect. There are lots of job websites and I doubt there has ever been a job posted that has a cursive writing requirement. There are more jobs that need a scribe or a chant leader than there are that require cursive. It is a relic at best. That last sentence blunts your message. You are a smart guy. If you can learn to leave the irrelevant jabs at dead Republicans out more people will read your message as opposed to rejecting your irrational dislike of Republicans.

    • Mr. Steinbeck,

      I agree with Yoda. The partisan attack was wholly unnecessary, but I do agree with the first part of your statement.

      I could show you tons of studies which show the merits of musical training on the higher development of language, mathematical and reasoning skills, yet funding for music education is routinely cut, while sports routinely see increases.

      Explain that value system to me and you will have explained why the US lags most developed nations in most academic categories.

  5. Oh, I also wanted to point out more hypocritical GOP wasting of tax dollars. When will you people wake up?

  6. What does this debate actually cost the state Indiana,and ultimately those who pay for anything Indiana state funding gets earmarked for?

    To myself, looking from afar,the debate itself,probably isn’t worth a plug nickel.
    What’s the cost of teaching a kid to write? Geezal pete, who can prescribe a fix for that anywhere. But wait!

    Ever try to figure whom, signed the prescription for the cure?

    Print,sign initial,date.

  7. Jean Leising bears watching.

    “This has a lot to do with brain development,” Leising said,…

    “over 90 percent” of Hoosiers still support cursive writing being taught in school…, Leising also said.

    Her irrational push to extend the teaching of an outmoded way of communication could be just the tip of the berg. She is after all from Oldenburg. I see a connection. It’s the devil’s work, complete with smoking serifs.

    Learning cursive will always be available, just as learning the different forms of calligraphy are. Some cursive words are worse than others but cursive seems to be all some folks understand. The famed calligrapher Caligua never met a cursive word he wouldn’t type out.
    We are fortunate to have such a legislature, tirelessly working for the betterment of all the people of Indiana.

  8. I suppose any parent who wanted their kid to learn a specific thing that is not covered in the curriculum could just teach that thing to their kid themselves.
    If it’s THAT important to you…..does anyone teach their kids anything themselves?

  9. Why didn’t the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution just print their names?

  10. Why do 90% of the medical, financial, and legal forms we fillout say “print name” at the beginning and “signature” at the end?

    • Bingo! The only reason anybody needs to use cursive is for an individualized signature. Most kids go through a stage where they work on writing their names, and practicing a signature.
      Other than that, there is NO need to teach cursive writing. Pounding letters on a keyboard is all that is needed, and it would be nice if the students were taught to convey well-ordered, pertinent thoughts in the process. We don’t need rambling, but artistic, gibberish. We need legible (printed) intelligent content.

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