A legislative committee on Tuesday approved a proposal to change state law and require public schools to teach cursive handwriting and force students to memorize their multiplication tables.
The back-to-basics bill sent forward by the House Education Committee insists students be taught handwriting until they can write legible documents before finishing fifth grade.
"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.
Rep. Pat Hurley (R) Randolph County, who helped craft the bill, says he realized children weren't learning cursive handwriting through letters he got from students.
"I received some thank you letters from students in the 4th grade and they all printed it. Some wrote it. I started checking with the parents and some had no idea their children weren't being taught cursive," he explained.
Some who spoke at Tuesday's hearing asked how a requirement that a student must be proficient in cursive handwriting might affect students who have cognitive or coordination issues.
"For some reason, my teachers thought that since I was left handed that I would not have good handwriting. Consequently, I did not work very hard on developing a good cursive writing skill," Atkinson offered.
Representative Hurley said the final version of the bill will address any concerns about special needs students.