State Lawmaker Wants Illinois Schools To Teach Cursive Writing

CHICAGO (CBS) — When was the last time you wrote in cursive? A lawmaker has suggested putting cursive back in the curriculum at Illinois schools, but not enough lawmakers would sign off on his idea.

Illinois lawmakers haven’t been able to agree on a state budget in two years, but that didn’t stop Rep. Chris Welch (D-Hillside) from proposing a requirement to teach cursive in all Illinois elementary schools and high schools. He called for a debate by the full House on Friday.

“If you teach it, and they can write it, they can read it. They can read important documents like our U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and so many other historical documents, because they’ve learned this important skill that – oh, by the way – it’ll help protect their individual identities,” he said.

Welch called cursive “a fascinating way of learning.”

Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago) said cursive is too old school to require for today’s students. He noted cursive came after calligraphy and before typing.

“This is really moving us backwards in time, not forwards in time,” he said.

Welch said anyone familiar with the essay section of the bar exam would see the value of the skill.

“Cursive writing helps you do that faster and easier. It has been proven that you comprehend better. Most of the lawyers in this room, and there’s a lot of them, will tell you that cursive writing helped them become the lawyers that they are today, because it helped them pass the bar exam,” he said.

Rep. Bob Pritchard (R-Hinckley) said the issue is not something which requires the General Assembly’s involvement.

“School districts are making choices as to what they have time to teach, and while I agree that we ought to be teaching cursive, it ought to be a local decision,” he said.

Welch decided not to ask for a vote on the measure. Apparently, he saw the writing on the wall.

However, he hasn’t completely written off the idea. He did ask fellow House members to think about his proposal over their upcoming two-week spring break.

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