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Bill mandating cursive instruction clears NC House

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Starting this fall, all North Carolina elementary students would be required to learn cursive writing and multiplication tables if the state Senate adopts a bill that passed the House unanimously Thursday.

Under the bill, public schools will have to provide instruction in both subjects in what its sponsor calls a return to basics.

[LINK] House Bill 146

State Rep. Pat Hurley, R-Randolph, said the issue came up after a class of fourth graders sent thank-you notes for a visit entirely in print. She sent communications to every school district in the state asking if they require cursive instruction, and most of the 62 that responded said they leave it up to individual teachers.

That struck her as problematic, she said, because she considers cursive writing an essential skill for any adult, and her own research indicated it promotes discipline, motor-skill development and allows people to read important classic texts.

"Today, with all the digital and the electronic - and I love digital and electronic - I feel like our students still need the other," she said.

The Department of Public Instruction reported the mandate could be easily integrated into the common curriculum and would require no new costs, she said.

Hurley's bill passed 107-0 after Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, interrupted her floor speech to ask whether she knows of anyone who actually oppose the measure. The bill, which now goes to the Senate, went for a vote shortly thereafter.

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