Each legislative session thousands of bills and amendments are introduced in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Only a fraction become law, and an even smaller portion receive wide media coverage.
These bills impact the lives of people living in Pennsylvania every day.
Each week The Sentinel will highlight one bill that has not received widespread attention.
About the bill
As more and more computers, phones and smart devices begin to penetrate an ever-growing segment of daily life, the need to physically write with pen and paper has diminished.
As such, the importance of teaching handwriting, especially cursive writing, in public schools has likewise diminished.
Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Philadelphia, is looking to boost the attention given to handwriting education for young students.
“Research has uncovered that handwriting offers benefits that extend far beyond the act of writing, with benefits including: 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,” Cruz wrote in a co-sponsorship letter.
House Bill 1083 would require teaching print and cursive handwriting in elementary schools.
Under Cruz’s bill, students would be required to legibly print by the end of third grade and write in cursive by the end of fifth grade.
In his letter, Cruz states “advances in technology have made handwriting obsolete with pen and paper replaced by smart devices.”
However, he says it is important to make handwriting instruction mandatory because “electronic devices can fail or be unavailable” and not all homes and students have access to a computer.
“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,” he wrote.