House panel backs cursive, multiplication tables instruction

Posted March 26, 2013

— Public school students in North Carolina would have to be taught cursive handwriting and be required to memorize multiplication tables under a bill that passed the House Education Committee Tuesday morning.

House Bill 146, dubbed the "Back to Basics" bill, still must go through an appropriations committee before it can be debated on the House floor.

Sponsor Rep. Pat Hurley, R-Randolph, said she got the idea for the bill after receiving a series of printed notes from fourth-graders in her district. Only then, she said, did she learn that most North Carolina school districts were abandoning cursive instruction to spend more time on other topics, including typing on a computer keyboard.

Hurley said she appreciates the digital learning now taking place in classrooms statewide, but she believes basic skills like knowing how to write in cursive and quickly multiply numbers still need to be taught.

"We want a unique signature of these students. They have no signature," she said. "I think they need to have this knowledge."

Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said state education officials have no problem with the requirements, saying cursive and multiplication instruction can be fit into the Common Core language and math standards being adopted by the state.

Rep. Alma Adams, D-Guilford, wanted to know how schools could determine if students were proficient in cursive because the bill states only that they must be taught handwriting by the fifth grade.

Rep. Charles Graham, D-Robeson, expressed concern that some students might not be ready developmentally to handle cursive and multiplication when districts want to teach the subjects. That could lead to them being labeled as learning disabled and require occupational therapy, he said.

Hurley said she would try to address Graham's concerns before the bill goes before the full House.


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  • BlahBlahBlahBlahBlah Mar 27, 2013

    I learned how to use a slide rule, an abacus, and I love to ride my horse....Helps the environment quite a bit.
    Don't need one single battery. It should be against the law to throw those batteries in the trash instead of disposing of them properly .

  • BlahBlahBlahBlahBlah Mar 27, 2013

    Neil Armstrong's quote (with a little tweak) will work fine here.

    One small step from the House, One giant step for the children in NC.

  • goldenosprey Mar 27, 2013

    Which is more useless, a degree in AA Studies or the ability to write cursive?" Terkel

    Which is a college field/elective chosen by relatively few Americans and which is being forced on every child in NC by big government conservatives?

  • Wirklich Mar 27, 2013

    Terkel says, "Which is more useless, a degree in AA Studies or the ability to write cursive?" You are kidding, right?

    Your implication that having the ability to write cursive is more important that earning(what you refer to as a "useless" AA degree,)is consistent with and reflective of the level of thinking our GOP legislators invests in decision-making.

  • Krimson Mar 27, 2013

    Anybody here still use an abacus? A slide rule? A horse-and-buggy?

    If you do, get on your rotary phone and call your local Congressman! Or get out that quill and ink well and write (in cursive) a note on parchment expressing your opinions!

    That'll show 'em!

  • Terkel Mar 26, 2013

    Let's kick down and destroy the learning of musical instruments and visual arts because, y'know, the computers do that.

    Love the way the libs defend AA Studies and other degrees that will never get you a job...but it's "about EDUCATION!", so it's sacred. Then they trash cursive and mental calculation because "no one needs it".

    Which is more useless, a degree in AA Studies or the ability to write cursive?

  • tracmister Mar 26, 2013

    That shows you how out of touch Republicans are with education. Multiplication tables have and continued to be taught in public schools. They are tested with the new tests already. Cursive writing signatures are taught, but the entire system is not because computers have replaced the need to learn cursive writing. Also, the reason must children took writing tests in print is due to the fact that most people scoring the things can't read the cursive writing because of neatness. Way to go Republicans! Out of date, out of touch, and behind as usual.

  • ljwhitmire Mar 26, 2013

    Oh those computer things will never catch on. They're just a fad. Writin', readin', and 'rithmatic are the way to go!

    Question: when you go out and start your car in the morning, how many of you understand the engineering required to make all of that work? Yet, somehow you're able to get from point A to point B.

    When it comes to competing world wide, going back to basics represents a failure of the public education system. Are private schools going back to basics? Probably not, they are moving to the future.

    What needs to be changed is the way we learn period. The world is different, smaller. I communicate with people from all over the world everyday. I have to learn new things everyday to accomplish my tasks. Learning is less about cramming rote memorization down a students throat and more about a necessity to exists.

    In 10 years, our "Back to Basics" will show that we went back to the stone age in our education system.

  • geosol Mar 26, 2013

    Yep, another example of REPUBLICANS using BIG GOVERNMENT to try to get their way. REPUBLICANS are all about less government when they are spewing their ideology, but then they are VERY quick to use that same BIG GOVERNMENT to try to get their way whenever they think it suits them.

  • Plenty Coups Mar 26, 2013

    "Unfortunately multiplication tables are not taught in school any more...oh multiplication is (with a calculator) but not the tables."

    They certainly are with my kids.