Illinois General Assembly passes cursive writing mandate

Illinois General Assembly passes cursive writing mandate

Despite the potential for imposing new costs on school districts, Illinois lawmakers overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto on a bill mandating cursive writing instruction.

A bill mandating cursive writing instruction in public elementary schools will become law after the Illinois Senate successfully overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the measure on Nov. 8.

The Senate voted 42-12 to override Rauner’s Sept. 22 veto. The House previously overrode Rauner’s veto on a 77-36 vote.

The bill, introduced by state Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, D-Hillside, passed the House by a 67-48 margin April 26 and originally mandated cursive instruction in both public elementary and high schools. The bill then passed the Senate 41-15 May 30 with an amendment removing high schools from the mandate.

The legislation amends the school code to provide: “Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, public elementary schools shall offer at least one unit of instruction in cursive writing. School districts shall, by policy, determine at what grade level or levels students are to be offered cursive writing, provided that such instruction must be offered before students complete grade 5.”

The fiscal note accompanying the legislation as it was originally introduced said passage of the bill will “have a fiscal impact on school districts; however, the specific amount is not known.”

Imposing an unknown cost on school districts – and by extension, taxpayers – is irresponsible given the high tax burden Illinoisans face at the local level, in no small part due to administrative bloat in school districts and mandates from Springfield. Senators, who will soon take up the measure, would be wise to sustain Rauner’s veto.

With one of the highest tax burdens in the nation, Illinoisans can’t take on another unnecessary cost. Lawmakers should instead use their time to do the opposite: work at giving Illinoisans tax relief with comprehensive property tax reform and cutting waste.

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