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Republican State Sen. Jim Carlin led a subcommittee hearing on Senate File 89 on Wednesday, a bill which will require cursive to be taught in Iowa. Students would be expected to be proficient in reading cursive and legibly writing in cursive by the end of third grade.

Carlin said he has had numerous constituents approach him about the subject and, with Iowa Common Core not having any provision for cursive in it, he believes there are benefits to cursive that will help early childhood development.

Democrat State Sen. Sarah Trone Garriott expressed concern with the bill due to it being an unfunded mandate.

Phil Jeneary with the Iowa Association of School Boards said the group is concerned about the unfunded mandate portion of the bill as well as the timing. With the loss of learning time due to COVID, Jeneary questioned if now is the time to add one more thing for teachers to teach and students to learn as they try to catch up on that lost time.

Carlin, though, said cursive helps with all sorts of developmental aspects of early childhood. As for the unfunded mandate concern, Carlin said he’d have to take a look at it, noting that some districts already teach it and will not be impacted.

“But I think this is a conversation worth having and worth continuing,” he said.

Republican State Sen. Craig Johnson agreed and advanced the bill out of the subcommittee with Carlin.

Author: Jacob Hall