Nevada lawmaker wants all students to learn cursive handwriting by the end of third grade

Nevada Sen. Don Gustavson wants every student in his state to be able to write in cursive.

The Republican state lawmaker is behind a bill that would make it a requirement for elementary schools to teach cursive handwriting to student before the fourth grade.

Gustavson said students should learn cursive in order to read old letters and historical documents, and that learning cursive handwriting improves motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Clark County Schools District lobbyist Joyce Haldeman said cursive instruction is currently optional for teachers in the district.

Washoe and Clark county school district lobbyists testified against the bill and said most teachers have the option of teaching cursive handwriting. Washoe County School District lobbyist Lindsay Anderson said schools can't easily track or document how well students learn the skill.

Former Republican Assemblywoman and U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle testified in favor of the bill, saying cursive gives students a fallback when electronic devices fail or don't work.

"Cursive writing is one of those tools that allows us to be in any setting and take a note and do it quickly," she said.

Other lawmakers have brought forward legislation that would add to the list of subjects already required in Nevada schools. Bills under consideration this session propose mandatory ethnic studies, financial literacy, and physical education classes.

Several states including California, Georgia, Massachusetts and Tennessee legally require school districts to teach cursive handwriting.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.