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State proposes requiring cursive for young Arizona students


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PHOENIX (AP) — Young Arizona students may have to master cursive after all, according to proposed changes to the state's reading and math learning standards.

The state Board of Education on Friday announced new proposed standards that would include requiring third-graders to be able to read and write in cursive handwriting, The Arizona Republic (http://bit.ly/2bIEFqv ) reported Monday.

How well students are can write in cursive would not factor into whether they pass third grade.

Gov. Doug Ducey earlier this year vetoed legislation that would have required students receive cursive instruction until the 5th grade. The measure had bipartisan support, but Ducey said the Board of Education and not lawmakers should decide how cursive is taught.

The proposed changes also suggest new standards for higher-level high-school math above Algebra I, geometry and Algebra II and adding time and money education standards to elementary education.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas, a longtime critic of the state's Common Core-based standards, said she approves of the revisions because they move some standards away from Common Core.

"One of the glaring problems that I've spoken about north, south, east and west across the state on my opposition of the Common Core standards, or Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards, was the lack of higher-level math when it comes to calculus" and trigonometry, she said.

Most proposed changes replace the phrasing and wording of requirements to make them clearer.

"The rigor is still there, it's just more clear what is expected," said Carol Lippert, an associate superintendent for the Department of Education.

Rachel Stafford, an English teacher at Mesquite High School in Gilbert who helped develop the proposed reading revisions, said the revisions would give teachers more autonomy in their classrooms.

"I think the public will be able to comprehend what is being asked of students better, as well," Stafford said.

Arizona residents will be able to voice their opinions on the proposed standards in writing or at 17 public hearings across the state in September.

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Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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