What started out as a mandate that Ohio school children learn to write in cursive is now more of a suggestion.
House Bill 58, sponsored by House Education Committee Chairman Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, was signed by Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday.
Brenner’s initial idea was to require instruction in kindergarten through fifth grade in cursive handwriting. The version of the bill that passed, though, would only direct the State Board of Education to develop model curriculum that would be available for school districts to use.
Advocates for mandating cursive instruction say it helps hone fine motor skills and is needed for signing important records as well as reading historical hand-written documents. The Campaign for Cursive website says that learning cursive improves brain function, improves reading and spelling skills, helps with focus and self-discipline and increases self-confidence.
Schools have cut back on handwriting instruction to allow for more time teaching core academic requirements.
A handwriting bill failed to pass the General Assembly in 2015.
“In second grade, I failed handwriting,” said state Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Lorain, who noted that he taught himself typing and survived. He said he’d rather students spend the time on computer coding, a second language or another important skill.