> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
The looped letters of cursive handwriting have moved in and out of state-required curriculum in Indiana since 2011. But whether made optional or required, cursive has largely stayed in the lessons of schools in Clark and Floyd counties.
Indiana’s Department of Education removed the handwriting skill out of its mandatory curriculum in July 2011. But Senate Bill 120, introduced in February to put cursive back in required curriculum, passed the senate in a 36-13 vote and has moved to the state House of Representatives.
Whether the bill passes or not, the representatives from the four districts in the area said they expect to continue teaching cursive in classrooms.
In Greater Clark County Schools, supervisor of assessments Karen Spencer said cursive has remained part of the curriculum for second- and third-graders in spite of its removal from Common Core Standards. She said though the state is pushing Common Core more, her district has eased into the transition.
“We’ve been phasing it in and not completely following Common Core anyway,” Spencer said. “It was just never included in those standards and I think that’s what’s caused all the controversy in schools whether they’d teach it or not.”
She said as part of their language arts curriculum, second- and third-graders spend about 30 minutes on handwriting and literacy, but teachers can incorporate cursive into that as they choose, whether it’s in letter formation or introducing the letters.
She said after the Department of Education stopped requiring cursive, parents called in to make sure they weren’t dropping the practice. But she said cursive remains an important skill as students get older.
“You have those parents that want to hold onto the old curriculum, but they think it’s important for kids to be able to write,” Spencer said. “They still have to sign their name, they still have to fill out forms and write checks. There are things they’ll have to do as adults where they’ll have to write. I think the fear that those skills wouldn’t be taught to them was a concern.”