Back-to-basics bill wants students to focus on handwriting

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RALEIGH, N.C. - A legislative committee approved a proposal to change state law and require public schools to teach cursive handwriting.

"It has been an option for schools to teach cursive writing. Some do and some don’t. But this bill would require that they teach cursive writing,” said North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson.

The back-to-basics bill sent forward by the House Education Committee recommends students be taught handwriting until they can write legible documents before finishing fifth grade.

"It's your foundation," said Dr. Kim Pemberton assistant professor of elementary education at Winston-Salem State University.

Pemberton says research shows a strong link between the flow of handwriting and the creative side of the brain which is the foundation of motor skills.

"What would our surgeons do?  Would you want a doctor operating on you who didn't the techniques of fine motor skills that cursive writing enhances or a mechanic working on your car?"

Rep. Pat Hurley (R) Randolph County, who helped craft the back-to-basic's bill, says she realized children weren’t learning cursive handwriting through letters she got from students that were all printed.  "I started checking with the parents and some had no idea their children weren't being taught cursive," said Hurley.

"Those skills need to be learned," said parent Jason Dudley who also wants his 5 year old daughter Lily to learn to read cursive too.

"We have a lot of handwritten family letters from my great-grandmother that I would want her to be able to read and learn from one day."

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