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Schuylkill County News

A Schuylkill County Legislator Wants Cursive Mandatory in Schools

Pennsylvania would become the 24th state to require learning cursive.

State Rep. Dane Watro (R-116) wants to make learning to read and write cursive mandatory in Pennsylvania schools.

A state representative from Schuylkill County is the prime sponsor of legislation that would require kids be taught cursive writing and reading in Pennsylvania schools.

State Rep. Dane Watro, who represents the 116th District in the State House of Representatives, says cursive has “fallen by the wayside” and that learning this handwriting skill would have numerous benefits for children.

In our increasingly digital world, cursive has fallen by the wayside. However, there are many compelling reasons for students to have at least a basic grasp of cursive writing,” Watro says in a statement announcing his backing of HB 1934.

Watro says 18 other states currently mandate learning cursive writing. But according to, that number is actually 23 now: 

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  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
State Rep. Dane Watro (R-116) wants to make learning to read and write cursive mandatory in Pennsylvania schools.
State Rep. Dane Watro (R-116) wants to make learning to read and write cursive mandatory in Pennsylvania schools. (Photos: Canva Pro)

Watro adds reasoning for pushing to make cursive writing and reading part of the mandatory curriculum in Pennsylvania public schools. He says, “Our nation’s founding documents, such as the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, are written in cursive. Many people sign their names in cursive, and it’s often needed to complete a business document.”

He also says learning cursive has developmental benefits and increases hand-eye coordination, citing unnamed sources.

So what happened to kids learning cursive in schools? It’s something many people of a certain age remember, fondly or not. 

According to, Common Core State Standards launched in 2010 and were the beginning of the end – at that time – for cursive in schools. Instead, the push was to teach keyboarding skills. 

It’s hard to argue that keyboarding or typing isn’t a valuable skill to learn as well. However, not that many states adopted this part of the Common Core standards, according to that same reporting. Pennsylvania is not one of them.

So, that would mean that although Common Core stressed keyboarding skills – and not necessarily saying cursive wasn’t necessary – mandating the learning of both forms of written communication were somewhat abandoned over time.

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Watro’s bill has been referred to the House Education Committee.

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  1. James EISENHART

    February 18, 2024 at 8:40 am

    Well maybe he start to be a fighter-imho Joanne Stehr has more testosterone than him. He also listens to lawyers,as he did on a prior bill.
    But as far as I know,he hasn’t promised jobs to people,like Padora.

    Btw: keep you eye on that job promise,I heard it was something like 22 jobs.

  2. Abby

    February 18, 2024 at 9:05 am

    When I was in school, we learned cursive and keyboarding…but back then, it was on typewriters! Cursive writing IS needed as stated in the article. No ifs, ands, or buts.

  3. Chris

    February 24, 2024 at 8:02 pm

    As a start, cursive handwriting should have never been taken out of the schools. Don’t even get me started on the public school system. Interesting the topics upon which Watro is willing to speak out about. Where does he stand on untested, toxic human waste being spread in areas of Schuylkill County??

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