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House passes bill requiring cursive writing to be taught through fifth grade

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill requiring cursive writing to be taught in all West Virginia schools in grades 3-5 passed the House of Delegates easily on Tuesday.

In a roll call of 87 in favor, eight against and five not voting, the bill moved to the state Senate for consideration.

Delegate Joe Ellington (R-Mercer), chair of the House Education Committee, called the legislation getting back to the basics of education.

Joe Ellington

“The concern is that things aren’t being taught properly like cursive, ” Ellington said on the floor. “Now some of our students are getting taught and learning this. Some of our great teachers are doing a very good job with this but apparently, some are falling through the cracks.”

The bill, House Bill 4089, will amend the Code of West Virginia,1931. That current code states that cursive is required in grades 2-4. Ellington said second grade will still be required to learn cursive, if developmentally acceptable.

He further said on the floor that there is no fiscal note on the numbers of students being taught and not being taught cursive in schools right now. He believes that educators will not see a problem with this new requirement.

“Out of committee, all the teachers I have talked to 100 percent were in favor of doing this. I don’t think you’ll get any resistance there,” Ellington said.

Delegate John Kelly (R-Wood) was one of two delegates that spoke on the floor before passage. He said the bill backs the talk from the House about increasing education and helping students.

John Kelly

“These young gentlemen and ladies who were in that small group of people who were not taught cursive…they can’t read the Constitution of the United States,” Kelly said.

“They can’t read the Declaration of Independence. They are all written in cursive.”

This amendment under Article 2 of the State Board of Education section will be known as the “Gertrude Martin Act.” The name is in appreciation of the bill’s sponsor, Rodney Pyles‘ (D-Monongalia) third grade teacher.

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