Cursive handwriting bill passes House

State House lawmakers voted unanimously today to require elementary students to learn cursive handwriting and memorize multiplication tables.

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Cursive handwriting chart
Laura Leslie
RALEIGH, N.C. — State House lawmakers voted unanimously Thursday to require elementary school students to be taught cursive handwriting and to memorize multiplication tables.

Rep. Pat Hurley, R-Randolph, is the sponsor of House Bill 146, known as the "Back to Basics" bill. She said she filed the proposal after receiving a bunch of printed thank-you notes from a local fourth-grade class that visited her in Raleigh. 

Hurley said local school officials told her it's up to teachers to decide whether to teach students cursive and whether to require them to memorize multiplication tables.

Hurley said cursive writing is "a skill that’s needed in the larger world and is thought to be a requirement for a well-rounded educated person," adding that her research shows it helps students' motor skills and self-discipline.

Cursive also "increases ability to read cursive documents like the Bill of Rights," she said, and teaches students to sign their names.

Confessing her love of antiques and old letters, Hurley said students who don't learn cursive "are missing out."

"I love digital and electronics," she said, "but I feel that our students still need the other."

The Department of Public Instruction has said the new requirements can be accommodated within the current Common Core Curriculum and should not add any additional cost. 

The measure passed 107-0. It now goes to the state Senate.

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