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Pandemic Disrupted Required Cursive Writing Lessons In CMS, State Report Says

Drew Perales
COVID-19 has not been kind to cursive-instruction efforts in the Charlotte area.

State-mandated cursive writing lessons were among the casualties of the pandemic in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools last year, a new state report says.

In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly passed what was dubbed the Back to Basics law, requiring elementary schools to teach cursive writing and have students memorize multiplication tables. It was part of a nationwide pushback against Common Core standards.

Last school year, 83% of school districts and 87% of charter schools met the requirements for cursive lessons, according to a report being presented to the state Board of Education Wednesday. CMS and Union County Public Schools were among the minority that did not.

CMS reports that when students had to shift to remote learning, the district focused on core subjects, not cursive writing. Cursive lessons in grades 3-5 will return to CMS this month, according to the report.

Union County reports that cursive instruction varies by school. Only one, Indian Trail Elementary, met the requirement to have all fifth-graders able to produce clear documents in cursive.

Among dozens of charter schools in the region, only Charlotte Lab School, KIPP Charlotte, Lincoln Charter and Union Preparatory Academy are listed as having failed to meet the cursive mandate.

About 95% of all districts and charter schools reported teaching the multiplication tables last year. Rowan-Salisbury was the only district in the Charlotte region that is listed as noncompliant, along with Cabarrus Charter and Uproar Leadership in Charlotte.

The state report does not include details on why schools are listed as noncompliant in multiplication.

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