“The Death of Common Sense”

I have been searching the internet for inspiration and motivation, not necessarily the optimal source to find something to elevate my broken spirit. Nevertheless, I can across an article on a friend’s Facebook page (Sheila Ealey) who told me she came across the article years ago. Therefore, I searched to identify the author and I am glad I did because in one article she acknowledged that her work was all over cyberspace.  She stated the worst feeling was when she saw her articles referred to as author Unknown. Lori Borgman today your article will have your name as the writer of this amazing article on my Blog!

However, before I share her article I will describe why I found it so prolific.  As I pondered what is happening in schools, with our children and within our communities across the nation her article which made perfectly good common sense to me:

  • Children are fearful – they act out
  • Children are angry –they act out
  • Children are parents – they do not know what they are doing
  • Grandparents are raising grandchildren – they have lost their golden years
  • Children are abandoned and disturbed and emotionally, sexually, and physically abused – they act out
  • People live in fear – they act out
  • White people are fearful of Black people – they act out
  • Why is it that doctors are not mandated to report births to girls under the age of 16?  – doctors protected

With All Deliberate Speed

The educational system in the United States shifted when Brown v. Board of Education mandated equal education for all students and ended segregation in public schools, and with all deliberate speed. While there are students of Color, particularly Black students performing well in schools common sense would ask that we step back and determine where are high achieving Black students performing better.  Common sense might ask the adults to question do zip codes matter?  Common sense might want to know what is the average medium wage of those high achievers’ parents. Yes, there are those students in public schools that are able to capture some educators’ eyes and are pushed and motivated and may actually make it out of the STPP and go to college. Then what?  Common sense and experience have proven to me that many institutions of higher education particularly the Ivy Schools and the Selective Schools (crème-de-la-crème institutions) still fail to maintain a reasonable retention rate of Black students. These institutions talk-the-talk, but the reality is that they really do not know how to engage students from marginalized communities. They have a difficult time retaining the select few from Prep and/or Bordering Schools and Private High Schools, let alone those who are products of public schools.  Yes, these mighty institutions with the multi-million dollar endowments lack common sense.  I was told by a person who shall remain nameless, that Ivies and Selective Schools, even with their massive endowments, just do not have the know how or have the ability to help Black and Latino students who are high achievers and/or marginalized. These institutions that produce presidents, senators, executives, lawyers, doctors, and leaders in every industry lack common sense.

All deliberate speed has been slow in coming for our most vulnerable children. Many Black students are performing two or more grade levels below their more affluent Black peers and farther below their white peers. In many cases, their schools are old, unsafe, dark, and uninviting to motivate creativity, or thoughtfulness.  They are unappealing to the eyes of children, so why do the adults expect rigor, stellar performance because frankly we know these types of building will not inspire or arouse critical thinking.

However, I digress or not, because, common sense, the structure I perceive it to be no longer exists in education and in many cases parenting.

The Death of Common Sense by Lori Borgman

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth, records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

  •  Knowing when to come in out of the rain:
  •  Why the early bird gets the worm:
  •  Life isn’t always fair:
  • And maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.  Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further, when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live, as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers

I Know My Rights

I Want It Now

Someone Else Is To Blame

I’m A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

***There is one item in the article I must address and it is the reference to the lady who filed a lawsuit against McDonalds because of the scalding coffee – what most people do not know is that that particular store had numerous complaints about the excessive heat of the coffee.  They had to pay for not adjusting the temperature of the coffee machine.***

TL;DR:   This post addresses the demise of common sense in society and the effects it has had in communities, families, schools, parenting, accountability in higher education and my observations, opinions, and experiences.

12 thoughts on ““The Death of Common Sense”

  1. Tracy Riley says:

    The cards are so highly stacked against us. No wonder our youth act out and I don’t blame them. We dropped the ball and we collectively need to pick it up but won’t. It’s the damnedest and most overwhelming problem of our time.

    MAJ Tracy Riley (retired)

    1. Dr. MABL says:

      Yes, we dropped the ball in our quest to obtain the American dream. What we did not realize was that the dream had a cost or has a cost. While there is nothing wrong with wanting a better life-style too many of us hid or are denied the cost our ancestors paid. Our great grands-relatives or great-great grand relatives grands the very people who endured segregation and Jim Crow so that we may live better or have better opportunities did so in the name of community. Yet, we did not share our stories of pain, suffering, or what is was like being the Help, or the sharecropper’s descendent or even the descendent of a slave. We hid from our past – we move forward with deliberate speed and we have failed those who did not have the skills, knowledge, or ability to see beyond the confines of their improvised neighborhoods. Yes, we write checks to local clubs, we attend fancy elegant events to grant scholarships, we host various events to erase our denial of not really ‘giving back’. For every success story, for every professional ” From those to whom much is given much is expected” we as you say need to collectively pick up the ball. When we accept that this means more than more (though money helps) and that our best way to help is to work with a child – ask, demand that the slave master (company) allow you (us) at least 2 days a month – five hours a day to dedicate time to a child at a school establish positive relationships and maybe help develop the will to be their very best, maybe we can fulfill the dreams of our ancestors. We should attend your local school board meetings: listen to what is said then observe what actually happens where you have children in school or not, there are still other people’s children subjected to the decisions of the policy makers. Step out of the illusion of the American Dream bubble because the reality is that it does not matter if your advanced degree is from Harvard, Yale, Penn, Stanford, Amherst, Emmerson, or any other Ivy and/or Selective institute because our color has criminalized us the target is still on our backs. I think Dr. Henry Louis Gates, professor of African American Studies at Harvard can surely support this statement.
      We must pick up the ball – because success is as simple as graduating from high school and reading at the 12th grade level and being able to construct a sentence and write an essay or write coding for software….we have to pick up the ball and play with our children.

  2. Kimberlyn T. Fox says:

    Common Sense is a G-d given gift to all mankind and when we toss it out like trash or don’t use it then we are like the scripture says ‘As one who is fighting the air eventually you will wear yourself out and lose’ ……

    Who can be found still standing when fighting against the most high G-d who controls the wind and all the elements of the earth….

    Common Sense is clouded when evil prevails, when justice and equal treatment for all is ignored or prejudices are shown based on someone’s ethnicity or socio-economic status.

    So in my opinion, Common Sense isn’t dead it’s clouded or has been replaced by evil and prejudices in regard to equal and fair treatment for all on any level.

    ~Empress Kimberlyn~

    1. Dr. MABL says:

      Thanks for sharing your opinion.

  3. Dr. Deborah K. Hicks says:

    What I have learned about Common Sense: it is relative to having an experience with the subject of interest or object involved with the learning opportunity. Common Sense is not necessarily innate and I do not believe anyone is born with it. Common Sense does not dictate rubbing two sticks together and hopefully have the result called fire. Someone thought of that action first, another observed, lessons taught, and we now know. Through trial and error, common sense would tell the individual that wet twigs won’t work. Aha! Common sense could never lead me out a forest or help me find home if I follow a North Star, especially if I’ve never encountered a forest or never knew the stars and constellations and their positions in the heavens. Acquiring intellect is NOT common sense: intellect is endowed and nurtured. Learning must be practiced and depending on the experience, common sense may kick in and direct one’s path. What is common sense to one is not common sense others. How many times have you whispered “Stupid” or looked at the person incredulously because obviously Common Sense says….Educational Administrators who have taught have the pre-entry cognitive skills for common sense. However, common sense is disposed of as soon as an imminent threat comes for their job. There is no payment or financial or psychological reward for simplicity, something that is inherent in common sense which is why evidence of an administrator’s common sense is invisible. As an instructor, common sense tells me that if Juan doesn’t get “it” the first time, Juan should receive direct instruction, options for his learning style to acquire the concept, time for lots of practice, and evidence of learning through an appropriate product. But administrators get the big payout to forgo common sense by allowing corporations consisting of individuals who may never have seen a dead body, experienced chaos in a police raid and subsequent arrest of significant care givers, lost sleep because of noise, violence, or homelessness just to dictate a product never normed on standard learners in the ‘hood and force feed a pacing calendar that out paces itself ultimately ending with the demonizing and degrading end of year (Kindergarten, really??) result of a standardized test that has nothing to do with learning how to take a test or through projectile vomiting bubble anything that looks close to recall. See, common sense was thrown out with the bath water. Common sense would never allow a mother to leave a baby in a crack house, let her lover or family member molest or brutalize her child, or tell her to kill her newborn. Mental illness, social pathology are at extreme opposites of common sense looking like quite an oxymoron. Common sense allows me to live today from an ancestral line expanding millennials. Common sense told me not to go to that guys house I just met from the Internet but insecurity forever changed my life. We stopped talking to each other. We stopped making generations feel obligated to his or her present and future survival of our species. There is no common sense in denying, unlike other races, a life span of pain and suffering forcing even us to coin and borrow the phrase, “Never again!” Common sense no longer applies to the madness evidenced in random killings with the brown hands of our brothers and sisters in our self-created war zones. Even the animals are turning on us: that must account for something, common sense tells me, and I am sure they not only know how to preserve their species, but possess their own brand of common sense. Therefore, I want to start a GoFundMe account to resurrect Common Sense and share the collection of history, knowledge, and experience with those in need of good old fashion Common Sense.

    1. Dr. MABL says:

      DO IT….and use the FINLAND approach to education.

  4. Junius Solomon says:

    I would like to associate my comments with those of Dr. MABL. Let’s start with Harold Lasswell, a well-known Political Scientist. In my humble opinion he left his discipline with its most astute definition of politics. He stated that politics is who gets what, when and how. There is a lack of recognition on the part of most African Americans that school boards are government agencies that determine who gets what, when and how. These who get what are in the form of services such as quality educational services and other outcomes for their children. The constituents (parents and their children) benefit when there are high levels of parental participation and demand from the school system. In my own school district, black parents were conspicuously absent at board meetings and parent teacher’s conferences, but will fill the school board meeting room if their child was suspended for fighting. For example, most all of the nations’ racially mixed schools have a statistically significant over inclusion of African American student in special education, especially those with mental disabilities. There has never existed an over inclusion of white children with mental disabilities even when assessments are correct. This occurs because white parents will remove their disabled children from special education. Rarely will school officials challenge the demands of these parents. Black parents, on the other hand, will not challenge their child’s placement. I have been told by black parents that if their child remains in special education they will receive compensation from social security. Part of any advocacy program must consider a parent education component.

    1. Dr. MABL says:

      Unfortunately, you are correct particularly about compensation for ESS students. Some parents abuse the privilege and tell their children how to behave inappropriately.
      Alternatively, it is not uncommon for white people to employ the use of a 504 to get extended test taking time. The difference between the two worlds.

    2. Dr. MABL says:


      Black parents as you pointed out will often use the child to obtain SSI and when it’s not about money it is because they need assistance in managing a child. If only parents knew how much power they could exert on their school boards.
      A quick story: When my daughter was a sophomore attending a private Catholic H.S.I was constantly requesting a late pick up bus but was always told there were not enough students to fiscally support a bus for my one child. One morning I got on the bus and gave each child a letter to give to the parents with my contact information. Parents starting calling all telling me they too had attempted a late after school pick, but was told the district could do it for just one child. I looked up the laws – had each family sign a document requesting a late pick up bus. So, I went to the board meeting documents in hand and all that was required based on state legislation. It was the perfect School Board Meeting. Before the microphone was open to the public I learned a concern the district was attempting to address was the additional $ 500,000.00 line item for the education of the children of some of the staff members and other teachers. Well, when it was my turn to speak everything had changed because I knew we were spending one-half of a million dollars for the convenience of staff/teachers to bring their kids to our school district. So, I simple stated well I had all of this documentation about the late bus pick up and the topic tonight was about tax dollars paid and misused for educating other school districts’ children! So, I am not requesting a late bus pick up, I simply need to know when can we expect to have the late bus start? They attempted to throw out the bidding process etc., to which I replied take the money from the line item that is currently being used for out of district education. Bus services stared the next Wednesday.

  5. AL says:

    We failed when “common sense” told us we live in a meritocracy and we believed it.

    “I fear I am integrating my people into a burning house”
    – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

    1. Dr. MABL says:

      The house has burned down. We look to the millennials to MAKE CHANGES.

  6. Felicia Shelton says:

    Great post!

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