Arizona now requires cursive be taught in schools

It's being called Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards.

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Among the headline changes are that the state will require public schools to teach students cursive. Students will have to learn print and cursive. For the latter, students will be taught cursive through fifth grade. By third grade, students must be able to read and write cursive in upper and lower case, according to KPHO.

Overall, nearly half of Common Core standards have been revised in K-12  math and language arts. Forty percent of math and 48 percent of language arts Common Core standards have been revised at the state level.

Here is a rundown of some of the changes:

The Arizona standards remove requirements that 70 percent of high school reading material be "informational," while 30 percent is "literary." A staff summary of the changes called those requirements "arbitrary" and "inappropriate" and said the revision will give local school boards more flexibility when choosing reading material.

Arizona classrooms are expected to teach cursive handwriting through fifth grade. By third grade, students will be expected to read and write cursive letters in both upper and lower case.

Second-graders are expected memorize the sums of two one-digit numbers. Third-graders are expected to memorize multiplication and division tables through 10 x 10.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas got her job in no small part by vowing to replace the Common Core standards.

"We now have new standards that have been worked on by Arizona teachers, parents and been vetted by anti-Common Core experts," Douglas told KPHO. "This is a proud day for Arizona. Has everything changed? No. Should everything have changed? No."

The standards are supposed go into effect by fall 2018.

Douglas said the changes make the state curriculum more rigorous than the federal standards.

"I would not accept [the new standards) if they were lower than federal standards. This is all about improving the rigor and making them better for our children. Making them more understandable for our teachers and parents," Douglas said.

The Associated Press reported that other new education standards include that money and time management is taught in earlier grades. Students in kindergarten through third grade will also be required to learn how to spell words most often used under a "foundational writing skills strand."

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