Nevada Legislature: Bill would require students to learn cursive

Nevada lawmakers say they’re apprehensive about a bill that would require elementary school students to learn cursive handwriting.

Republican Sen. Don Gustavson testified on SB 287 on Friday in the Senate Education Committee, saying mandatory cursive lessons would greatly benefit students.

“This is something they took away and I believe they really need to put it back in there,” he said.

Although senators agreed that reading and writing in cursive is valuable, Republican Sen. Mark Hammond raised concerns about overburdening teachers.

“I don’t want to pile on the teachers with all the things they’ve been asked to do,” he said during the hearing.

The bill would require public and charter schools to teach students how to read and write cursive handwriting by the end of the third grade.

Gustavson said students should learn cursive in order to read old letters and historical documents, and that learning cursive handwriting improves motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Several states including California, Georgia, Massachusetts and Tennessee legally require school districts to teach cursive handwriting.

Washoe and Clark county school district lobbyists testified against the bill and said most teachers have the option of teaching cursive handwriting. Washoe County School District lobbyist Lindsay Anderson said schools can’t easily track or document how well students learn the skill.

Former Republican Assemblywoman and U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle testified in favor of the bill, saying cursive gives students a fallback when electronic devices fail or don’t work.

“Cursive writing is one of those tools that allows us to be in any setting and take a note and do it quickly,” she said.

Other lawmakers have brought forward legislation that would add to the list of subjects already required in Nevada schools. Bills under consideration this session propose mandatory ethnic studies, financial literacy, and physical education classes.


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