January 23, 2013 in Idaho

Lawmaker: Write cursive into Idaho school standards

Several other states have requirement
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Betsy Russell photo

Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls, in his office in the basement of the state Capitol.
(Full-size photo)

What’s next

The House Education Committee agreed unanimously to introduce Bateman’s resolution; that clears the way for a full hearing on the measure.

BOISE – Idaho’s public school students shouldn’t lose the ability to read cursive, warns state Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls, a retired history teacher.

“What will that do to historical research?” he asked. “Family research? Genealogy? Our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence – kids will not be able to read those documents in the original. It disconnects kids from their past – weakens the connection.”

Bateman on Tuesday called on the State Board of Education to include cursive handwriting in the new “Common Core” standards for what children should learn in school. Several other states, including California, Massachusetts and Georgia, already have made that move, Bateman said. It comes as kids have less cause for cursive writing, often using computers or other devices instead.

“We need to have balance in our system,” Bateman said. “We just can’t go with technology in every corner of our lives. … We’ve got to retain beauty in our lives.”

Plus, he said there’s lots of scientific research, much of it very recent, showing big benefits of cursive writing for children.

“Cursive handwriting involves more areas of the brain than when you touch keyboards,” Bateman said. It also develops kids’ fine motor skills, he said, along with retention, composition and other skills.

The House Education Committee agreed unanimously to introduce Bateman’s resolution; that clears the way for a full hearing on the measure.


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