By Benjamin Yount
Illinois News Network
One of Illinois’ new laws for the new year requires schools across the state to teach cursive once again.
It’ll be August before Illinois schools have to start teaching it, but the mandate is much to the chagrin of a number of lawmakers and local school officials.
Cursive supporters cited a combination of nostalgia – “It was good enough for us” – and patriotism – “How else will young people read the Constitution” – to pass the mandate.
LeRoy schools superintendent Gary Tipsord said he would rather see lawmakers look forward when they want to change the curriculum, not back.
“Contemplate the idea of what if we considered coding a foreign language,” Tipsord said about helpful changes he’d like to see from Springfield. “Coding is truly the modern language. The modern language isn’t the spoken word. It’s the code that we write.”
The new law requires schools in Illinois to teach cursive before the fifth grade.
State Sen. Dave Syverson of Rockford said the new cursive requirement is laughable, particularly since two-thirds of kids in Illinois currently can’t read or write at grade level.
“It’s just unbelievable that the same legislators who stand up and say, ‘We don’t want to push all of these mandates on local government,’ then they turn around and do something like this,” Syverson said. “It’s just ridiculous.”
The new cursive law requires that schools teach cursive, but doesn’t provide any money or flexibility to help teachers actually teach the lessons.
Tipsord said his schools will find a way to work cursive lessons into their day, somehow.