October 21, 2023

USA: On Monday October 16th, California Enacted Law Requiring Teaching Of Cursive Writing In Schools For Grades 1 to 6 That Takes Effect In January 2023. 17 Other States Have Same Law.

KCAL News published October 19, 2023: CA Governor signs bill to bring cursive instruction back to public schools. Bill AB 446 makes teaching cursive a requirement for grades 1 to 6.

USA Today
written by James Powel
Friday October 20, 2023

While much of the world races to put keyboards on as many instruments as possible, one state has just made a law to ensure that students are taught how to put pen to paper.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that requires the teaching of cursive writing across the state.

California Assembly Bill 446 amends the state's education code to include, "instruction in cursive or joined italics in the appropriate grade levels," for grades one through six.

The bill turned law's author, California Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva of Fullerton, told the Sacramento Bee that the bill is intended to help students to be able to read and write in cursive with the benefit of being able read primary source historical documents.

“A lot of the historical documents going back two or three decades are actually in cursive,” Quirk-Silva, a former elementary school teacher, said. “I went on 23andMe looking for some family records and they were all written in cursive.

While the teaching of cursive may feel anachronistic, the skill may help expand the ability of students to learn.

A 2020 study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that students writing in cursive activated different electrical activity in the brain as compared to typing and argued that "young children should learn to write by hand successfully, and, at the same time learn to manage to write on a keyboard."

Golden State not alone in mandating the teaching of cursive

While California is the latest to add cursive back into its educational standards, it is not alone. 17 states have laws on the books requiring cursive to be taught.

Here they are:
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennesse
  • Texas
  • Virginia
CBS 8 San Diego Oct 19, 2023: Newsom signs law requiring cursive handwriting to be taught in California schools.

CBS 8 San Diego
written by Jayne Yutig
Wednesday October 18, 2023

SAN DIEGO — What is considered a penmanship style of the past will live on in schools across California.

A new law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom will require California schools to teach cursive to elementary students in first through sixth grade, starting in January of 2024. It hasn't been a requirement since 2010.

Assembly Bill 446 was signed into law by Newsom on Oct. 16, mandating cursive or join italics handwriting for elementary students.

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva representing Fullerton introduced the legislation. She says the law addresses a growing concern that young adults who weren’t taught cursive in school could lack the necessary skills to perform tasks like signing their names on important documents.

“As a teacher for over 30 years, cursive writing was always an important part of our curriculum. This is an issue of equity because access to cursive education has depended on the school district a student attends,” said Quirk-Silva.

Children have increasingly relied on digital and mobile devices in and out of the classroom, leading to the decline of cursive writing. Despite cursive being a staple in American education, many schools have phased out cursive handwriting curriculum.

“Research has shown that cursive handwriting enhances a child's brain development including memorization and improves fine motor skills,” continued Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva. “This bill ensures that the younger generation is equipped with the skills needed to navigate the demands of the world of today, and to connect with their history in the world of yesterday.”

Quirk-Silva told CBS8 she was inspired to write the bill after doing some family historical research.

"It came out of myself going onto to '23 And Me' not too long ago and looking up some family records and realizing many of them were written in cursive," said Quirk-Silva.

At Nichols Elementary in Oceanside, cursive is already a part the curriculum for some students, including fifth graders in Christine Fuentes's class.

Fuentes says it's a choice she made after realizing cursive was becoming a lost art.

"Specifically the constitution, one of the students said hey this is alien and so I was like absolutely not. So, my main focus and goal was to create a connection for them to just learn certain letters. I have a classroom economy, we sign contracts and so they're also practicing signing their name in my class as well," said Fuentes.

Aside from being a practical tool, proponents say cursive is also great for learning.

"There's a lot of benefits to having cursive back in our instructional practices because it activates a portion of the brain that doesn't occur in print and or typing . It actually makes writing fluency easier for many children, including those showing signs of dyslexia," said Vicki Gravlin, Executive Director of Curriculum Instruction for Oceanside Unified.

Gravlin says because cursive is standard at the district, she doesn't anticipate many challenges when the cursive requirement takes effect, adding if there is a learning curve, the district is ready for it.

"We have training opportunities for our teachers. Also, with this built into the curricula, there are opportunities in their teachers' manuals to gather that information," said Gravlin.

Assembly Bill 446 was one of dozens of new laws that were either signed or vetoed by Newsom throughout the month of October.

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