States

Is Cursive Making a Comeback in California? Bill Could Revitalize Traditional Writing Skills

By Maya Miller, The Sacramento Bee — September 14, 2023 2 min read
Close crop of an elementary school, black girl in class focused on writing in a book.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

California elementary and middle school students could soon see a renewed commitment to teaching cursive writing in their English and language arts classes.

Assembly Bill 446 would require cursive handwriting instruction in first through sixth grade. The bill comes from Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, a former public elementary school teacher herself. Legislators sent the measure to Newsom’s desk Wednesday.

Although cursive writing instruction is already part of the California educational standard, Quirk-Silva said the implementation of the curriculum varies greatly from classroom to classroom. The bill doesn’t pinpoint a specific grade in which teachers would have to teach cursive, but rather requires them to be more intentional about making sure they include some instruction on it each year from first through sixth grade.

Quirk-Silva said the main goal of the bill is to give students the ability to read in cursive, as well as writing it. She pointed out that most historical records, such as diaries, letters, ledgers and other documents, were written in cursive.

“A lot of the historical documents going back two or three decades are actually in cursive,” she said.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

Additionally, with the rise of artificial intelligence in the classroom, she theorized that more teachers would return to handwritten essay exams. Students who can write in cursive would be able to write faster.

Quirk-Silva said former Gov. Jerry Brown was a major supporter of the bill when he was in office, and she texted him shortly after the Assembly passed the bill to let him know about its success.

“He said, ‘Get this bill to me and I’ll sign it,’” Quirk-Silva recalled of her conversations with the former governor. “But we could never get it through the education committee.”

As the Assembly considered the bill on a concurrence vote Wednesday, the Fullerton Democrat read handwritten notes from some of her colleagues — written in cursive — in support of the bill.

“Dear Sharon, no one has more beautiful handwriting than me. Period. End of story,” wrote Assemblywoman Diane Papan, D-San Mateo.

“Thank you, Mr. Marshall, my fourth-grade teacher, for teaching me how to write in cursive!!!” wrote Assemblyman Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, D-South Los Angeles.

AB 446 was joined together with two additional education bills that would mandate instruction on climate change and mental health in first through sixth grades.

Copyright (c) 2023, The Sacramento Bee. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Privacy & Security Webinar
Navigating Modern Data Protection & Privacy in Education
Explore the modern landscape of data loss prevention in education and learn actionable strategies to protect sensitive data.
Content provided by  Symantec & Carahsoft

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

States How States Are Testing the Church-State Divide in Public Schools
A new order to teach the Bible in Oklahoma is the latest action to fuel debate over the presence of religion in schools.
7 min read
Image of a bible sitting on top of a school backpack.
Canva
States Lawsuit Challenges Louisiana's New Ten Commandments Law
Opponents argue that the law is a violation of separation of church and state and will isolate students.
3 min read
A copy of the Ten Commandments is posted along with other historical documents in a hallway of the Georgia Capitol, Thursday, June 20, 2024, in Atlanta. Civil liberties groups filed a lawsuit Monday, June 24, challenging Louisiana’s new law that requires the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom.
A copy of the Ten Commandments is posted along with other historical documents in a hallway of the Georgia Capitol, Thursday, June 20, 2024, in Atlanta. Civil liberties groups filed a lawsuit Monday, June 24, challenging Louisiana’s new law that requires the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom.
John Bazemore/AP
States The Surprising Contenders for State Superintendent Offices This Year
Two elections for the top education leadership job feature candidates who have never worked in public schools.
8 min read
North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler announces the gathering of a task force to look into future options the state has for the assessment of students during a press conference May 8, 2015, at the state Capitol in Bismarck, N.D.
North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler announces the gathering of a task force to look into future options for student assessment during a press conference May 8, 2015, in Bismarck, N.D. Baesler, the nation's longest-serving state schools chief, is running for a fourth term, facing opponents with no experience serving in public schools.
Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP
States Does a Ten Commandments Display in Classrooms Violate the Constitution?
Louisiana is poised to become the first state to require all schools to post the Ten Commandments in classrooms.
7 min read
Human hand holding a magnifying glass over open holy bible book of Exodus verses for Ten Commandments, top view
Marinela Malcheva/iStock/Getty