Letters to the Editor

Not in favor of unfunded mandates that burden schools

I read BND’s recent editorial on cursive handwriting as one of many Illinois legislators’ unfunded educational mandates with mixed emotions.

As a St. Clair County homeowner, taxpayer, and parent of school-aged children, I’m not in favor of unfunded mandates that further burden our struggling public school system. Treating cursive handwriting as just another hollow educational mandate is a misrepresentation of its importance in the communications process.

Those of us who are out of school for a few years recall the old standard of the Three R’s: reading, writing, and arithmetic. The Three R’s originated in London, England, in the early 1800s and were considered fundamental to education. In the good old days here in the U.S. they were a primary focus.

The BND didn’t provide the history of cursive handwriting in Illinois public schools, but surely at some point in the past cursive had a key role in accomplishing the Three R trifecta.

At some point cursive must have lost its luster and subsequently dropped from common core standards in most states. The recent cursive mandate would be a case of “back to the future.”

How do today’s students learn to put pen to paper without benefit of a standardized English symbology. Do today’s students just print their signatures? How can they read the Constitution without benefit of an English language translator?

They must learn all they need to know on the keyboard in their computer lab.

Bill Malec, O’Fallon