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Lawmakers move to require schools to teach cursive amid Common Core wrangling

| Thursday, March 5, 2015, 9:45 p.m.

CONCORD, N.H. — As schools adopt new education standards and rely more on computers in the classroom, a group of New Hampshire state senators want to make sure the basics of learning cursive and multiplication tables don't get left behind.

“You definitely need to teach typing and keyboarding, and all of that, but kids do need to be able to sign their names; they do need to be able to read the Founding Fathers' documents,” said Republican Sen. Nancy Stiles, the main sponsor of a bill that would require public schools to keep teaching both. “(Cursive) is an art and a skill that shouldn't be lost.”

The push to keep cursive in the classroom has become a nationwide movement as schools adopt the Common Core education standards, which omit mention of the handwriting style. The K-12 standards, adopted by most states, have drawn widespread criticism. Among other objections, opponents say, the standards complicate math education and take away local and state control over school instruction.

New Hampshire senators Thursday passed the bill on a voice vote and sent it to a finance committee to assess possible costs. North Carolina has passed legislation on cursive and multiplication, and several other states have taken up bills to require cursive.

Stiles said she submitted the bill at the request of two constituents. Foes of Common Core say the legislation only begins to scratch the surface of problems with the standards.

But opponents of the measure say it's unnecessary and misguided because curriculum decisions in New Hampshire have always been made at the local level. State Board of Education Chairman Tom Raffio said the state has no plans to move schools away from teaching cursive or multiplication tables.

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