Public school students would have to be taught cursive writing starting in August under a bill that breezed through the Louisiana Senate Education Committee on Thursday.

The measure, Senate Bill 275, cleared its first hurdle without objection.

It next faces action in the full Senate, and an uncertain future.

Freshman state Sen. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton, sponsor of the bill, said she has heard of cases where young people do not even know what a signature means, have to print their name or use an X.

“To deprive our students of not knowing how to write cursive, no less read cursive, is pretty audacious on our part,” Mizell told the committee.

Cursive writing, also known as script, was taught in public schools for generations. Technology and pressing demands in the classroom are cited for the nationwide decline in the craft.

Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan “Blade” Morrish, R-Jennings, said his 88-year-old mother-in-law recently gave his nephew, who lives in Utah, a grocery shopping list.

“He said he could not read it,” Morrish said.

“It was cursive. She has a beautiful cursive handwriting. It brought to my attention it is not being taught not only here but Utah.

“I think it is something that is probably pretty important,” Morrish said.

Whether cursive writing should be required in public schools has sparked controversy nationwide.

The bill would require that cursive writing be taught in public schools by the third grade.

Mizell said by the time a child can walk, he or she can operate an iPhone.

“But that doesn’t discount the value of writing with pencil and paper,” she said. “I have made this a very, very minor requirement of the school systems.”

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