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Column

There’s a bill in the Legislature to mandate the teaching of cursive handwriting in Illinois public schools. What’s your opinion?

I'm fairly passionate about this subject. A couple of months ago, I did a two-part series on cursive handwriting in Bureau County, and I was pleased to find all but one school still taught cursive — though the time dedicated to the art is far less than what it used to be.

I clearly understand a classroom teacher has his/her hands full, when it comes to having enough hours in the day to teach all that is required, however, I would hate to think cursive handwriting is what slips through the cracks. Yes, I understand how keyboarding tends to rule the world, but I think there will always be a place for cursive handwriting — or at least there should be.

I have letters written in cursive by my grandfather to his brothers while he was in World War I. I have recipes that have stood the test of time from my grandmother and my mom — all written in cursive. I have notes, letters, greeting cards from long ago family members — all in beautiful cursive script — that I cherish. Wouldn't it be awful if I was unable to read those items because I was never taught cursive in school? I think so.

I remember how excited I was in school when we were able to learn cursive writing, and teachers today tell me their students still get equally enthusiastic. Cursive writing could be considered a lost art, but it's one I think needs to be preserved.

Shame on our state government though, who are working on legislation about cursive writing, when the entire focus of their efforts should be on passing a state budget, so school districts can get the money they deserve.

Terri Simon

I would hate to learn that students are no longer taught cursive handwriting. Even though in my adult life, I only use cursive to sign my name on legal documents, I feel lucky to know how to write and read it when I need to.

Imagine all the historical documents we wouldn't be able to read if we hadn't been taught cursive writing in school. It would be a shame.

But do I think it needs to be a mandate for schools? No. In fact, I think it's silly that legislators are worrying themselves with this sort of mandate for public schools. Shouldn't they be worrying about bigger issues in the education system?

My thought is that teachers don't need another mandate in the classroom right now. My hope would be that they would naturally see the importance of teaching cursive handwriting without being mandated. Most teachers know what's best for students, and I have yet to meet a teacher who believes cursive is inessential.

Goldie Rapp

Although mandating the teaching of cursive writing is admirable, I see it as another unfunded mandate to school districts across the state.

Students should know cursive writing so they can not only sign their names to legal documents requiring a written signature and have the ability to read letters from older relatives or historical documents in the writer’s original handwriting.

The last time I wrote a letter in cursive was in college in the 1980s, back before the days of Internet, email and text messaging. After not being able to write legibly enough for my parents to read the letters, I soon switched to typing letters sent home.

I am not opposed to making sure students know how to write cursively, but I don’t think legislators need to put another unfunded mandate on already financially-struggling school districts in Illinois.

Legislators sitting around Springfield waiting for leaders to quit arguing about how to pass a budget submit bills like the cursive writing being taught in public schools, but don’t know the cost to individual districts. This seems to me just another in a long list of requirements being placed on school districts when the state isn’t paying its fair share of state aid.

Bureau County area school districts aren’t receiving what they were promised to get in state aid because no budget has been passed in Illinois in almost two years. That is more a travesty to me than requiring school districts to reach cursive writing.

Lyle Ganther

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