This morning, the House Education Committee considered HB 146, Back to Basics, which would mandate mastery of cursive by fifth grade and memorization of multiplication tables. House members supported the bill, introduced by Reps. Hurley, Warren and Shepherd, with few reservations.
Rep. Cotham expressed her support for HB 146, emphasizing that many historical documents are in cursive. However, she called for provisions for students with special needs who could not master cursive writing or the memorization of multiplication tables.
Rep. Graham echoed Rep. Cotham’s concerns and noted the opportunity for evaluations and occupational therapy as a result of some students’ inability to become proficient in these areas.
Rep. Stam expressed some reservations about the bill. “What you really want is legible communication. For some that is cursive, for others, that is print. So, what is the point? Do you want communication or a particular format that is not the best communication method for everyone,” said Stam.
Also unclear was how to go about assessing whether or not mastery of cursive or memorization of multiplication tables actually takes place.
The bill passed through committee.
HB 317, Improve Ed. for Children Who Are Deaf, also passed through committee. The bill would provide annual assessments for deaf students to assess their literacy gains, require that residential and day schools for the deaf are part of a spectrum of choices available to parents, and create a database that specifically identifies deaf and hard hearing children to track literacy gains and ensure their literacy achievement.
Prior to discussion of these bills, House members favorably recommended House Joint Resolution 21, which would set the stage for a joint session to confirm McCrory’s six State Board of Education nominees. The joint session will take place at a later date.