Se­nate over­ride makes it Read­ing, Hand­writ­ing and Arith­metic

Chicago Sun-Times - - CITY BEAT POLITICS - SUN- TIMES FILE PHOTO Sun- Times Staff

After a leg­is­la­tor ar­gued that high school stu­dents’ hand­writ­ing skills are so em­bar­rass­ingly lack­ing that the chil­dren have to print their sig­na­tures, the state Se­nate on Wed­nes­day crossed out Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bill re­quir­ing ele­men­tary schools to teach cursive writ­ing

With no de­bate, the Se­nate voted 42 to 12 to over­ride the gover­nor’s veto of the bill, which would re­quire all pub­lic ele­men­tary schools in the state to teach at least one unit of cursive writ­ing. The House voted to over­ride Rauner’s veto last month.

“I know that we’re mov­ing into the era of tech­nol­ogy, but sig­na­tures are re­quired on ev­ery­thing,” state Sen. Kim­berly Light­ford, D- May­wood, the bill’s chief Se­nate spon­sor, told col­leagues on Wed­nes­day. “Their So­cial Se­cu­rity cards, it’s re­quired. On your mar­riage li­censes, it’s re­quired.”

Light­ford said she was ap­palled when she served as a prin­ci­pal for a day at a high school in her west sub­ur­ban dis­trict and saw the kids’ sig­na­tures.

“They all had print sig­na­tures — well print, it wasn’t their sig­na­ture,” she said. “And it looked ter­ri­ble. It was ab­so­lutely em­bar­rass­ing that I was in a high school, and all of their writ­ing looked like third- grade to eighth­grade level of writ­ing.

“Cursive writ­ing is im­por­tant for mar­riage li­censes, for in­sur­ance li­censes. And if young peo­ple don’t have a . sig­na­ture, I mean, what are we do­ing here in terms of ed­u­cat­ing our stu­dents?”

The law will take ef­fect in the 2018- 19 school year. School districts will be al­lowed to de­ter­mine when to teach the unit of cursive writ­ing as long as stu­dents re­ceive it by the com­ple­tion of fifth grade.

When he ve­toed the bill in Septem­ber, Rauner dis­missed it as “yet an­other un­funded man­date for school districts that will not pro­tect the health or safety of Illi­nois stu­dents.”

“If the Gen­eral As­sem­bly be­lieves that cursive writ­ing in­struc­tion should be re­quired in ele­men­tary schools be­cause it will im­prove stu­dent out­comes, it should be in­cluded in the Illi­nois State Learn­ing Stan­dards and funded ac­cord­ingly,” the gover­nor said in his veto mes­sage.

State Sen. Kim­berly Light­ford said she was ap­palled when she served as prin­ci­pal for a day at a high school in her sub­ur­ban dis­trict and saw the kids’ sig­na­tures.|

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