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'Back to Basics' bill would require cursive writing instruction

Posted February 21, 2013

— Lawmakers are hoping to reverse course on a recent education trend in which cursive handwriting instruction is abandoned in favor of other instructional topics.

Dubbed the "Back to Basics" bill, House Bill 146 would require public schools to add two traditional instructional elements back to their curricula: cursive writing and learning the multiplication tables. 

Specifically, the bill would require instruction "so that students create readable documents through legible cursive handwriting by the end of fifth grade." It would also require students to "memorize multiplication tables to demonstrate competency in efficiently multiplying numbers."

Local education officials have said cursive writing is falling out of the curriculum to make room for other subjects required by new "common core" standards being put in place. 

Rachel Beaulieu, the legislative liaison for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, said her agency hasn't reviewed the bill and didn't have a comment on it.

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  • handwritingrepair Feb 26, 4:51 p.m.

    It is odd that — so far — the legislators clamoring for cursive are almost all Republicans. (Doesn't the Republican party portray itself as the champions of minimized government, of minimal regulatory interference in education and elsewhere? Why, then, urge government control over handwriting?)

    It is even odder that the documents the cursive clamorers most often name (as their evidence that we need to write cursive style for the sake of reading it) are the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Some material in each document — the Constitution's "We the People," for instance — is penned, not in cursive, but in elaborate "Olde Englishe" Blackletter. Yet no legislator crusading for a cursive writing mandate (on the grounds that we need to read our founding documents) is crusading also for a mandate of Blackletter.

    Someone who has never seen cursive handwriting does, almost always, need to be taught to read it — because cursive is admittedly far

  • handwritingrepair Feb 26, 4:25 p.m.

    "Jetset" writes:

    > We MUST have the basics: reading, WRITING, and arithmatic!
    /
    How about spelling? /-------------------------------------------------/

  • handwritingrepair Feb 26, 4:21 p.m.

    To all North Carolinians who suppose that printed signatures can't be legal ...

    The UCC 1-201(37) — North Carolina General Statutes § 25‑1‑201(37) — specifies that “‘Signed’ includes using any symbol executed or adopted with present intention to adopt or accept a writing.”

    Further, the North Carolina General Statutes 12-3(10) states, for use in statutes: “Provided, that in all cases where a written signature is required by law, the same shall be in a proper handwriting, or in a proper mark.”

    Admittedly, some folks who Just Feel Sure they law must be wrong on this issue may mentally exclude printed handwriting from the category of “a proper handwriting” — if so, they have not pointed to any legal defense for such exclusion.

  • handwritingrepair Feb 26, 4:18 p.m.

    Cursive's cheerleaders forget thst one can learn to read a style without producing it. (This is fortunate. If we had to write a style to read it, we would have to learn to read all over again whenever a new font was invented.)

    It odd that — so far — the legislators clamoring for cursive are almost all Republicans. (Doesn't the Republican party portray itself as the champions of minimized government, of minimal regulatory interference in education and elsewhere? Why, then, urge government control over handwriting?)

    It is even odder that the documents the cursive clamorers most often name (as their evidence that we need to write cursive style for the sake of reading it) are the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Some material in each document — the Constitution's "We the People," for instance — is penned, not in cursive, but in elaborate "Olde Englishe" Blackletter. Yet no legislator crusading for a cursive writing mandate (on the grounds tha

  • busyb97 Feb 25, 1:22 p.m.

    I think people forget and dont realize how much you do use those various skills and subjects in day to day life. We are so used to the process, we forget how we arrived at it. Ie...multiplication tables. The table is irrelevant but the mastery of the multiplication is not! It is something used daily....and those who dont know how, it becomes quite clear to the rest of it. But do you stop and think "I am glad I knew how to multiply today!" Not likely. But you know that you bought 3 gallons of milk for $3 each and need at least $9 to do it!

    Or cursive handwriting.....you were able to read the note your momma left you or the card she sent. Or maybe the precious note from your grandma. Or YOU wrote a note for someone or a grocery list for yourself and rather than printing, because it takes longer, you scribbled out your version of cursive. Bet you dont stop to think about using it...you just do. But your kids wont be able to read any of it.

  • junkmail5 Feb 25, 9:22 a.m.

    The WSJ story suggests ANY handwriting has this effect... so cursive would remain totally pointless.

    Print handwriting, still taught, does the same thing.

    Likewise, your other example, learning another language, would be far MORE useful than cursive.

  • Ebunny Feb 22, 9:49 p.m.

    Cursive trains the brain. My kids are in a classical education school and they begin cursive in 2nd grade. It is like teaching them a foreign language as it expands abstract thinking. Don't get that from keyboarding. Here is a WSJ article that supports it. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704631504575531932754922518.html

  • junkmail5 Feb 22, 7:54 p.m.

    http://davidsortino.blogs.pressdemocrat.com/10036/intelligence-and-the-lost-art-of-cursive-writing/
    thewayitis

    well... a BLOG! that's scientific!

    Especially when his first two "sources" are folks who make their living on cursive writing.... I'm sure they're TOTALLY unbiased.

    Then note he doesn't provide links to the Johns Hopkins one... wonder why?

    Notice his wording- "physical instruction such as cursive handwriting lessons"

    or, a bunch of other physical instructions too...but that wouldn't help his argument so he leaves that out.

    Note the Geiger quote ALSO stops without any actual mention of cursive, just the author imagining it's among the "such as" examples that might fit what the guy is saying.

  • junkmail5 Feb 22, 7:50 p.m.

    Hardly! If you can get college credit for calligraphy, cursive writing should at least be taught in grade school to make kids more well rounded.
    timexliving

    this makes no sense.... grade school is for basic, fundamental, pillars of education.

    Not wasting time on dead languages.

    Might as well teach semaphore while you're at it.

  • timexliving Feb 22, 7:34 p.m.

    "Which is the point." junkmail

    Hardly! If you can get college credit for calligraphy, cursive writing should at least be taught in grade school to make kids more well rounded.

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