One State’s Proposed Law Would Mandate Cursive Lessons In All Schools

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A new proposal wants cursive taught in all Pennsylvania schoolsA new proposal wants cursive taught in all Pennsylvania schools

Most of Gen Z don’t know how to read cursive, a fact that more and more states are trying to correct with legislation reforming school plans. Pennsylvania is the latest to join the list of states looking to reintroduce cursive into the curriculum; only, in Pennsylvania’s case, it wants to mandate cursive lessons in all schools across the state.

Cursive actually has a long history in American schools. First introduced in the classroom as far back as 1850, lessons centered around cursive aimed to teach writing “based on fluid movements observed in nature,” according to the National Museum of American History. The advent of new technologies, from the typewriter to the smartphone has changed this dramatically but many educators want it back – along with the critical thinking benefits cursive brings.

Pennsylvania is the latest state looking to make cursive lessons mandatory in all schools

Rep. Joe Adams (R-Wayne County & Pike County) shared a startling revelation that helped inspire the latest piece of cursive legislation coming out of Pennsylvania. “I had people reach out to me that their 12-year-old granddaughter and 17-year-old grandson couldn’t read cursive and couldn’t sign their name,” said Adams. Now, Adams is sponsoring a bill – and is seeking cosponsors – to have Pennsylvania require cursive education.

Adams has support from a dozen cosponsors as well as educators, such as fourth-grade teacher Jodi Nankee who teaches as St. Theresa, who argues that cursive isn’t just about handwriting.

“Cursive, just neurologically, you get different parts of the brain activated,” explained Nankee. “Cursive helps students make connections that we don’t when we’re printing or typing.”

Pennsylvania wants to ensure students can benefit from cursive lessons and connect with the past

Adams wants Pennsylvania schools learning cursive to teach students critical thinkingAdams wants Pennsylvania schools learning cursive to teach students critical thinking
Adams wants Pennsylvania schools learning cursive to teach students critical thinking / Unsplash

It’s important to adapt to a changing world and know how to function within the latest trends. That’s why in 2010 the Common Core State Standards adopted new guidelines for keyboard literacy. For example, its standards for fourth graders ask that students “demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.”

By the mid-2010s, 46 states adopted these Common Core standards, which effectively elbowed cursive out of view in favor of typing classes.

But to learn cursive means to learn so much more, asserts Adams, who expects more cosponsors to support his legislation now that lawmakers are wrapping up Pennsylvania budget planning. As of four days ago, the proposal did not yet make it to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Over a dozen schools are introducing legislation to require teaching this skillOver a dozen schools are introducing legislation to require teaching this skill
Over a dozen schools are introducing legislation to require teaching this skill / Unsplash

Cursive asks the writer to continuously think as they write – not just about the words they want to write next but how they will write it; how does this letter connect to that adjacent one? On top of that, cursive is a doorway to the past.

“The Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, Gettysburg Address,” Adams listed, “Until pretty recently, cursive was the way amazing documents were drafted.” If everyone were in the same situation as those 12th graders Adams mentioned, those documents would be rendered illegible.

Do you remember cursive class?

Several important documents in the nation's history are written in cursiveSeveral important documents in the nation's history are written in cursive
Several important documents in the nation’s history are written in cursive / Unsplash

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