Cursive writing legislation passes committee

Rep. Kim Hendren and his wife Marylea Hendren present House Bill 1044 that would require all elementary schools to teach cursive writing.
Rep. Kim Hendren and his wife Marylea Hendren present House Bill 1044 that would require all elementary schools to teach cursive writing.

A House committee approved a bill on Tuesday that would require cursive writing to be taught in all elementary schools.

Rep. Kim Hendren, R-Gravette, sponsored House Bill 1044 after realizing his youngest granddaughter, an eighth-grade student in Gravette, could not write in cursive.

If passed by the House of Representatives, the bill would require all schools to teach cursive writing prior to third grade starting in the 2015-16 school year.

"People who have talked to me say [cursive writing is] something we need to retain in our schools," Hendren said.

Hendren said prior to Common Core standards, all schools were required to teach cursive writing before third grade.

There would be no additional cost to add cursive writing back into the curriculum because it would be taught in existing English classes, Hendren said.

Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, said he was concerned about mandating cursive writing and asked if Hendren considered a different way to encourage schools to teach the subject.

Hendren said he couldn't see a different way to encourage schools to teach cursive writing other than passing legislation.

Charlotte Douglas, R-Alma, said she contacted school districts both small and large in her district that expressed it wouldn't be a problem to add cursive writing into existing classes.

"It's refreshing to hear them be advocates for your bill," Douglas said of the school districts in her area. "It looks like to me it's something good we need to look at the research on and consider."

The bill will now go to the Arkansas House of Representatives for approval.