Despite John Hood's happy talk about the GOP's use of research for formulate policy, Republican legislators continue live in the alternate universe of their ideological agenda. Case in point: new legislation to mandate cursive writing in schools, where it appears that Representative Pat Hurley was happy to make up claims out of thin air.
For a detailed take down of this Republican criminal negligence, check out the extensive coverage on Diane Ravitch's blog.
The extensive presentation already made to the legislature by the bill’s sponsor (Rep. Pat Hurley) documentably [sic] contains serious evasions or misrepresentations of fact. These are visible in the publicly available (WRAL-TV) video of her testimony — which was presumably under oath — to the North Carolina House Education Committee: http://www.wral.com/news/state/nccapitol/video/12268754/
In her presentation, Rep. Hurley asserts that the importance of cursive has been proven by research done by persons whom she identifies only as the “PET scan people.” She states that this research established that the human brain “doesn’t work” (direct quote) while one is keyboarding, and that “only one half” (direct quote) of the brain actually works while one is print-writing. (It takes cursive writing, she alleges, to allow the entire brain to work).
Since her presentation does not give a checkable source for that very surprising statement, I asked her office to please send me the research, or at least a citation that could back it up. The material she chose to send in response (which I will happily forward to anyone, on request: firstname.lastname@example.org ) turns out, on inspection, to be seriously discrepant with the claims she makes to the House Education Committee about the research findings. (In other words: the research doesn’t say what she claims it says.) Specifically, the research she misrepresents — like other research, to be described and cited below — does not support her claim of a superiority for cursive or her claim of an essential role for cursive handwriting in education, and therefore it does not support a legislative mandate for cursive handwriting instruction.
NOTE: Edited to remove reference to intentionally lying. I'll let you be the judge of that.