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Arizona's Noon News & Karie Dozer

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

Years with the company: Just started with Bonneville, but have worked for and with KTAR AM and FM since 1991.

Career: I always knew my career would be touched by news. I started as a news intern in 1991 and eventually reported news and sports, and anchored newscasts at KTAR when it was an AM, news/talk/sports station. I went to work at the Attorney General's Office in 1995, as a spokesperson for the 300 attorneys there, and for Attorney General Grant Woods. I returned as a part-time host and host of Arizona's Morning News Saturday in 2001.

Education: I escaped Catholic school early when the nuns wanted me to skip the second grade. I found my independent voice at a private grade school in Painesville, Ohio, then called Phillips Elementary. The teachers there encouraged us to ask questions and challenge the status quo. They took us on mind-opening trips and never once treated us like children. I am grateful for those years! I left Ohio in 1988 to attend Arizona State University because I knew I wanted to live in the West. I majored in Journalism and interned at KTAR in the newsroom my senior year.

Family: I am the last of nine children and my parents were undoubtedly looking at retiring when I was born. I was raised early on mostly by my five wonderful sisters. I have so many first cousins that I haven't yet met most of them.

Favorite movie: Caddyshack and anything by John Hughes.

#1 sports team: NL Diamondbacks. AL Cleveland Indians. Gotta love a team whose mascot is named Chief Wahoo.

Outside interests: Working out, cooking, traveling and reading a great book.


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