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Final Word: We need to save cursive in schools

It seems like every year, some state somewhere puts cursive to the test.

You know, cursive. That odd writing style that, when practiced by your mother-in-law, makes English unreadable. Cursive.

It was my first C grade. Mrs. Van Himbergen gave me a C in handwriting when we started cursive. OK, it was a C+, but still, I was really embarrassed.

Tennessee is the latest state to consider cursive, but there, they want to make it mandatory. The goal is the right one, but the reasons some legislators are citing are silly.

One legislator is worried that kids won't be able to read their mom's notes.

Another says she is worried kids won't be able to sign their name or read the Bill of Rights in its original form.

Yet one more is worried that kids' inability to express themselves is connected to their inability to write in cursive.

One legislator even worried how kids would make a note to themselves if their laptop or iPad died.

All these are pretty silly little reasons compared with the obvious one: Cursive IS a skill, and if you don't learn it, your brain is missing a step in development. The beginnings and endings of letters, the exact formation, or effort toward exact formation, is important and reinforces certain brain functions.

The fine motor development that cursive teaches is necessary. It's like crawling before you walk.

Your brain should do it that way, and if it doesn't, those neural pathways don't get developed properly. Also, according to the National Association of State Boards of Education, cursive also helps with literacy, memory and other written expression. Do we need to know any more?

Your brain is everything, in case you didn't know. And if our schools are charged with educating our kids, shouldn't they at least TRY to do the best job possible? With fewer art classes and other enrichment in public schools we need to vow to keep cursive.

Your kid may never get hired by a greeting card company to do their calligraphy, but at least they'll be able to read those fancy cards when you send them.

About the Author

Karie Dozer is host of Arizona's Noon News.

She has been an on-air personality nearly continually since her college days. She loves radio because it is intelligent, immediate and almost always available.

She is the youngest of nine children from a Midwestern Catholic family where she learned to be heard, fight for a place at the table and find humor in almost everything. She was hired as a news intern while a senior at ASU's Cronkite School, and found that covering human stories like the OJ Simpson white Bronco chase and the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns was too much fun to pass up.

She loved life in the newsroom with all the action and crazy personalities to go with it. She anchored and covered some sports too, until politics dragged her away. She served as press secretary for Arizona's Attorney General Grant Woods for a five-year stint before jumping back to radio on a part-time basis. Three years ago she got back in the biz on a more regular basis as a midday host on what is now KTAR News. She has a passion for the breaking news of the moment, education, local politics, great food, sports and fitness. She has trouble turning down a good argument, a good book or a good glass of wine.

In her spare time she takes care of her boys, (husband Rich, son Jack, and yellow lab Buddy,) and bakes awesome chocolate chip cookies. She enjoys the quality of life the Valley offers her family and the natural beauty of Arizona. Her favorite places are golf courses, her own kitchen, the city of Flagstaff, and wherever her family is.

She considers herself lucky to work with the amazingly talented people of KTAR radio.


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