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Common Sense Law

I read in the Fort Worth Star Telegram this morning that the Texas legislature had passed a law (Texas House Bill 171) which requires school administrators to use common sense. I guess there has been a problem with this in the past (actually the bill explicitly states that there has been a problem – “School administrators are allowed to consider mitigating factors but sometimes choose not to exercise common sense.”). At issue was strict “no tolerance” policies in some school districts whereby kids were getting sent to alternative schools for infractions as absurd as leaving a baseball bat in the car, leaving fishing tackle (including a knife) in the car, forgetting to take a pocket knife out of a pocket, getting beat up (that’s right – both participants in a fight get the same punishment).

Oddly enough, no one voted against this bill. How could you vote against “common sense”. Can’t you just see the negative political ad next election …

You know the unflattering black and white images, with the voice over saying something like:  “My illustrious opponent voted against Common Sense. Surely you don’t want to elect someone who doesn’t even believe in Common Sense!” …

During dinner, my daughter asked me what I was going to do at work tomorrow. I told her I was going to try to use common sense, even though it wasn’t required by law in my profession. At least it doesn’t yet… But imagine if we could just get a few more organizations in a few more states to start taking this idea seriously. Just imagine what could happen. Reminds me of that bit from Arlo Guthrie’s song – Alice’s Restaurant:

“… And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may think it’s a movement. …”

(by the way, if you’ve never heard “Alice’s Restaurant” you should go buy it from iTunes right now – I mean right now – don’t even finish reading this – do it now!)

Anyway, this common sense thing sounds like a great idea that could really catch on. I can think of a few organizations where common sense could really be valuable (a lot of them are in Washington). Although I’m not sure how they would enforce it… But that’s a job for another day.


  1. joel garry says:

    Unfortunately, common sense has become a code word for pseudoscience, definitely not something you want to be associated with. Quick google came up with this.

    Captcha: noblo nurtures

  2. osborne says:

    Ha! I see what you mean. Just so no one gets confused, I don’t intend the term “common sense” to mean anything other than “common sense”. 🙂


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