A bill that would have required teaching cursive to elementary school students was rejected 9-0 Monday by the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Heidi Sampson, R-Alfred, would have required cursive instruction starting in grade 3. Advocates said writing in cursive helps with retention, hand-eye coordination and is needed for reading historical documents, while opponents questioned whether teachers have the time and resources to provide the instruction among competing requirements, or whether learning keyboarding early would be more appropriate in a digital age.

Once ubiquitous in American schools, cursive has been displaced in recent decades as teachers made room for teaching material for new, tougher standardized tests and modern skills such as keyboarding or coding.

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