Rep. Linden Batemen, R-Idaho Falls, spoke passionately in support of his pro-cursive resolution, HCR 3, before the House voted 68-2 in favor of it this morning. “If we do not teach cursive, the day will come when we will not be able to read cursive handwriting … old documents, inscriptions of any kind. … That will happen. I’m seeing it happen now,” he said. The resolution calls on the State Board of Education to include cursive handwriting in the new “Common Core” standards for what children should learn in school.
“We should not be clones of every other state when it comes to Common Core,” Bateman declared. “We should be able to customize it and make room for cursive. … For example, we might delay the keyboarding in the 3rd grade.” He said, “Ladies and gentlemen, let’s have a renaissance, a rebirth of elegant handwriting. … Let’s not let this elegant art form vanish.”
Rep. Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg, said when he was in school long ago, the focus was on the basics: Reading, writing and arithmetic. “How far we have strayed from those basics,” he said. “Writing is one of the basics.” Last fall, he said, at his potato harvest, he had 47 employees, and 26 were high school seniors. Each had to fill out a W4 form for him. “And I’ll bet a third of them, maybe more, I had to call their mother and find out how to spell their name,” Raybould said. “They couldn’t write. Many of ‘em didn’t write at all , they printed, and I couldn’t read the printing. … I think we need to get our schools back to the idea that that is a basic part of our education, that is something that is required for you to be successful throughout your life.”
Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, said, “I do think there is a bigger principle here, and that is the degree to which the Legislature should be involved in setting the curriculum for our schools.” He said he’d support the bill today because Bateman said it’s backed by state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna. But, he said, “I feel that we need to be very careful about turning curriculum issues into a matter of legislative debate.” The only no votes came from Reps. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, and Holli Woodings, D-Boise. The resolution now moves to the Senate.