Cursive Writing Bill Causes Controversy in Arkansas

cursive

A new bill in Arkansas requiring that cursive writing be taught in elementary schools is causing debate among educators throughout the state.

While every school in the state used to teach cursive to its students, Common Core standards do not require cursive as part of the curriculum.  A number of schools across the state dropped the practice after the new standards were adopted in an effort to spend more time concentrating on other parts of the curriculum.

However, the newly approved bill which was signed into law by Governor Hutchinson earlier this week, will change that.

“The majority of folks in Arkansas, including most teachers, think that’s part of a well rounded education, is cursive writing. We have to have technology, but we need to keep our roots in mind, and that’s what it helps us do,” says Sen. Kim Hendren.

However, not everyone feels the same way, with some standing in opposition of the bill because they feel that the handwriting requirement should not be mandated on a state level.

“With cursive writing, there’s really not a lot of use for it anymore. We’re getting to where we don’t even have to sign our names, most of the time, almost everything is electronic.” representative Della Rosa said.

Final legislative approval was given by the state Senate last week for the bill, which requires public schools in the state to teach cursive writing to all students by the end of the third grade.

The measure passed in a 30-1 vote.  Senator Bruce Maloch said that while he supports the idea, he believes it is an issue for the Education Department and not for lawmakers.

Another bill coming up for approval is House Bill 12-41, which would look to delay common core assessments (PARCC) until the 2017-18 school year.  Rosa said the bill is not expected to gain much approval within the house.

“They’ve already been preparing for this test, it’s getting ready to happen here in a couple of weeks. You just can’t go back, to the benchmark test this late in the game, and I think everybody realizes how impractical that is.” Della Rosa said.

This bill too is causing controversy, as others within the house, including Hendren, believe the tests are too strenuous for elementary students.

“Why should it take nine hours and 45 minutes for a third grader, to determine how they’re progressing, and only 3 hours and a half to get into law school.” Hendren said.