Pontiac lawmaker pushes school districts to teach cursive writing in new bill

Only 21 states require cursive to be taught in school, Michigan isn’t one of them

A state lawmaker from Pontiac wants to encourage more school districts to teach cursive writing.

After State Representative Brenda Carter’s son passed away in 2019, she found a letter he wrote in cursive when he was nine.

In it, he detailed his dreams of becoming a police officer to help people. Carter shared that letter with his then 9-year-old daughter.

“She was able to read her father’s letter,” said Carter. “Right now, a lot of children and adults can’t read or write cursive.”

That was part of the motivation behind her bill that would recommend the Michigan Department of Education develop a cursive handwriting instruction plan for public schools.

The bill would encourage school districts to adopt the plan.

Currently, no state law requires schools to teach cursive handwriting. And there is no requirement for Metro Detroit-controlled school districts to report to the state if they teach it, according to the Michigan Department of Education.

“My goal is to hopefully encourage local school districts about the importance of cursive writing in their curriculums,” Carter said.

Carter says she takes pride in her cursive, and the handwriting sample she provided Local 4 proves it.

After talking with Carter, we decided to put Metro Detroiters to the test at Campus Martius.

Some were extremely proud to display their cursive writing skills.

“I am about to show you this cursive,” said participant Charity Dean.

“I am someone who wrote cursive growing up,” said participant Jason Ramon.

The reaction was mixed on whether cursive should be taught in schools.

“They don’t really teach you it anymore, and they should because it is beautiful, the penmanship,” said Ramon.

“I go back and forth, said another participant. “I am an English teacher, and I do see the value and importance of it. But nowadays, so much is about technology.”

Carter has introduced the cursive bill before, and she’s hoping the third time is the charm.

Only 21 states require cursive to be taught in school. Michigan isn’t one of them.

About the Authors:

Will Jones rejoined the Local 4 News team in February 2023 as a weekend anchor and reporter. He previously worked as a general assignment reporter for the station from 2012 to 2015.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.