Written into law, through cursive
State Rep. Pat Hurley’s 15 minutes of proverbial media fame actually have lasted several months, all courtesy of cursive.
Hurley, R-Randolph, said she never expected the national — and in one case global — attention she’s received since she introduced House Bill 146 in mid-February. After hearing concerns from constituents about children not learning cursive writing in North Carolina elementary schools, Hurley introduced her bill to require the instruction.
The bill, passed by the GOP-controlled N.C. General Assembly, was signed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory last week. Hurley, a four-term legislator whose district includes Archdale and Trinity, said she hopes the practical outcome of her bill is that all North Carolina public schoolchildren gain a mastery of cursive letters. She doesn’t want the skill of cursive writing lost in the text-messaging, digital age.
“I hope every child has a chance to learn it — that was my main thing. If they can’t write it, they can’t read it,” Hurley told The High Point Enterprise.
Hurley and aides surveyed more than 60 of the state’s 115 school districts. While they found that many school districts taught cursive in their elementary schools, some left the decision up to teachers, said Hurley, a retired deputy clerk of court.
“Cursive helps children in development for other studies, such as art,” she said.
During the past several months, Hurley has become the subject of interviews with national media outlets about the cursive legislation. Most recently, a crew from the British Broadcasting Corp. filmed a segment with Hurley for distribution by the media outlet with one of the world’s widest scopes.
“You would have never thought it would get this much attention. It’s been my 15 minutes of fame,” Hurley said with a chuckle, “but it’s been a good 15 minutes of fame.”
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Here’s the wording of House Bill 146 that mandates the teaching of cursive writing in state public schools:
“The standard course of study shall include the requirement that the public schools provide instruction in cursive writing so that students create readable documents through legible cursive handwriting by the end of fifth grade. ... This act is effective when it becomes law and applies beginning with the 2013‑2014 school year.”