A bill that would require Indiana’s public schools to teach cursive writing is one of the first items that may come up for debate as the Indiana Gene
Is this new emphasis based on a realistic assessment of our children’s educational needs? I suspect that a rational case could be made for the importance of learning cursive writing. But, I’m extremely suspicious of any curiculum mandates coming out of our legislative process. When politicians get involved in pedagogy, even with the best of intentions and the best science behind a specific push, the result seems likely to do more harm than good. The legislative process is not the place for decisions about the specifics of good educational practice; we have an entire educational system in place, populated by experts (whose voices are often ignored by the political process), that is designed to make these determinations. In a best case scenario, our educators have and exercise freedom in their approach to students, adjusting their practice to the best and most up-to-date pedagogical knowledge. Laws requiring specific subjects or approaches interfere with the natural discharge of the teacher’s function and with the necessary flexibility to adapt lessons to today’s changing environment and student’s individual needs.
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