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State Representative Proposes Mandatory Cursive Writing Education In Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – In a day, and age, when technology education is at the forefront in many schools, Republican Representative Kim Hendren of Gravette ...

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) - In a day, and age, when technology education is at the forefront in many schools, Republican Representative Kim Hendren of Gravette believes it's important to know how to write in cursive.

That's why he has filed legislation that would require Arkansas elementary schools to teach students cursive writing. The requirement would start with the 2015-2016 school year, the bill states.

“I was taught it as a kid," said Clint Schnekloth, a parent of a student at Butterfield Elementary in Fayetteville. "I think it was like 3rd or 4th grade.”

Some schools chose not to teach their students how to write in cursive, which has sparked a debate whether the skill is necessary for today's children.

“I think they should [teach cursive,] just because of the [kid’s] signature,” said Brenda Smith, who is also a parent of a student at Butterfield Elementary.

Smith believes cursive will become important to children as they become older.

“I think it would be harder to copy a print, then it is when you have your own flare to cursive writing,” said Smith.

Smith said her sixth graders were never taught how to write in cursive in other school districts outside of the Fayetteville.

“They want to learn,” Smith said. “My older daughter has bought cursive writing books, and she`s self-teaching herself.”

But Schnekloth doesn’t fully agree. He said today`s technology may diminish the need to know how to write in cursive.

“I`m not sure if cursive writing will survive, or not. So I`m not sure if I have a strong opinion on it,” Schnekloth said. “I feel like we are in this transition era where there are different kinds of ways that people can communicate. Our kids learn how to use the iPads and the touch screens.”

Schnekloth said he has rarely used cursive since being out of school.

“When I got back to writing in my own handwriting, I went back to writing in print,” Schnekloth said. “I would say the only time I use cursive now is to sign checks."

And that's a point both Smith and Schnekloth could agree on: the one time cursive writing matters is when signing one's name.

“We still always have to sign paper work, so they should have their own signatures,” Smith said.

Fayetteville School District spokesman Alan Wilbourn said the district teaches students cursive at the end of second grade but, they don't have a specific curriculum for teachers to use.

Hendren's cursive bill has been sent to the House Education Committee. So far, no date has been set for a hearing on the bill.