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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 3, 2019 01:34 PM
From: Representative Angel Cruz
To: All House members
Subject: Handwriting Instruction in Schools
The current Common Core Standards for education, with its focus on testing for mathematics and language, no longer requires the teaching of cursive handwriting in schools. Given the current budget crises and unfunded mandates faced by our schools, if a course of study is not a requirement it likely will not be taught. Additionally, advances in technology have made handwriting obsolete with pen and paper replaced by smart devices.

Research has shown that handwriting offers benefits that extend far beyond the act of writing, such as better hand-eye coordination, greater rates of comprehension and information retention, improved achievements in reading, writing and math and increased and expanded neural development in areas of language, memory, word recognition and emotion. Moreover, electronic devices can fail or be unavailable. According to the U.S. Department of Education, as recently as 2015, only 85 percent of American homes had computers, with the fewest in homes with African-American or Hispanic children. Most importantly, great national treasures and cornerstones to our democracy, such as the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Gettysburg Address will be incomprehensible in their original format if handwriting instruction does not continue to be taught.

My legislation will amend the Public School Code of 1949 to require handwriting instruction in kindergarten through fifth grade to ensure that students have the ability to legibly print by third grade and to write in cursive by the end of fifth grade.

I hope that you will join me in adding Pennsylvania to the growing number of states which have recognized the vital impact handwriting has in learning. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my Harrisburg office at 717-705-1925.

Introduced as HB189