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6:27 AM Mon, Oct. 15th

Lawmakers want to require students learn cursive writing

State lawmakers want to require Arizona students to know how to read and write in cursive by the end of fifth grade.

State lawmakers want to require Arizona students to know how to read and write in cursive by the end of fifth grade.

PHOENIX - Insisting it’s good from everything from civics to brain development, state lawmakers want to require students to know how to read and write in cursive.

Legislation on the desk of Gov. Doug Ducey would mandate that schools include cursive reading and writing in their curriculum. Specifically, students would have to show by the end of fifth grade they are “able to create readable documents through legible cursive handwriting.”

But, unlike a requirement that students know how to read by the end of the third grade, there is nothing in the law that says students who can’t display that skill don’t get to go on to sixth grade.

The vote by the House to send the bill to Ducey followed extensive debate over the merits of cursive writing. And proponents cited what the said is research by Steve Graham, a professor at Arizona State University who has developed a national reputation in not only teaching writing but how it can be used to support reading and learning.

Graham told Capitol Media Services he found the fact that lawmakers took the time to debate the mandate “a little silly.”

“I don’t mean to sound snarky, but it seems like they should have more pressing and important things to be focusing in on,” he said.

More to the point, Graham said many of the claims being made - some in his name - have no merit.

And there were plenty of such claims during the House debate. “I’m looking at it from a brain development perspective,” said Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott.

“The quality of handwriting and the quality of the written text can be detected and seen on MRI imaging,” said Rep. Brenda Barton, R-Payson.