CONCORD, N.H. (CBS/AP) — Senators have passed a bill requiring public schools to continue teaching cursive and multiplication tables. The bill is aimed at making sure schools maintain those skills as schools adopt new standards and incorporate more technology in the classroom.
The Senate passed the bill on a voice vote Thursday and it will now be sent to the Senate Finance Committee.
The prime sponsor, Republican Sen. Nancy Stiles, says she submitted the bill at the request of two constituents. She says learning cursive will ensure students can read historical documents and that memorization of basic multiplication is an important skill.
"I know that in my school district, they do teach the cursive writing," Stiles told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens Thursday morning. "Because we know that if we want our students to be able to read the documents of our founding fathers that they have to be able to understand and read writing."
The memorization part of the multiplication tables is not required under the new standards, Stiles said.
"I'm of the belief that it's still a baseline," she said. "People should be able to click that off in their head right away so that if you're walking into a store and it says you can have 20 percent off of a price you should know immediately how much that is and how much it's going to cost you."
She added, "I know there are other ways to teach multiplication tables as well and I'm not opposed to that. I'm not opposed to moving forward in the 21st century learning and teaching the deeper thinking skills. I know that businesses are looking for people who can think creatively and master problems but if you have that in your base, it's not going to hurt."
During a hearing, two people opposed the legislation while everyone else supported it, according to Stiles.
The State Board of Education does not require or prohibit districts from teaching either.
"The State Board of Education was in full support of continuing the instruction of cursive writing," she said. "They had a little bit of an issue with the memorization of multiplication tables because it's not part of the new standards but they didn't come in and speak in opposition to it."
Democratic Sen. Molly Kelly says the bill is unnecessary and curriculum decisions should be made locally.
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