On Television: Common Core And Fireworks


Here’s my television segment from last night on 6:30 Point of View with Chris Berg.

Our topics of discussion were this parent/teacher survey showing some pretty miserable results for Common Core’s science standards – results that were way below ratings given to the math and language arts standards in 2011 – as well as West Fargo’s decision to allow fireworks within city limits on the 4th of July.

On the first topic, I was honestly surprised at how negative the results of the survey were given that the previous survey had been generally positive. As I note in a Watchdog article today, a lot of the dissatisfaction had to do with the climate change debate. The public comments on the survey included a letter from Jason Bohrer, President of the Lignite Energy Council, expressing some dissatisfaction with the way the standards address the issue of anthropogenic global warming.

On the second topic, we discussed an interview I had with West Fargo Police Chief Mike Reiten on the Jay Thomas Show yesterday (I was guest hosting) where we learned that things went pretty well in his city over the 4th of July despite a new ordinance allowing fireworks to be set off in the city.

I think there’s a broader lesson to be learned from West Fargo’s experience, which is that sometimes “less is more” when it comes to laws and regulations. Rather than cracking down on fireworks, and putting law enforcement officers in the position of having to chase around kids with fireworks, West Fargo decided to just set aside a reasonable time for people to light their fireworks. Since they were doing it anyway, the result was fewer calls for law enforcement response to fireworks, and a generally calmer 4th of July holiday.

West Fargo’s leaders deserve commendation for this move.

And maybe we could apply that thinking to, say, the drinking age. Kids are drinking underage anyway, maybe it would be better to loosen restrictions to allow some room for responsible introduction to alcohol under the age of 21.

Or, heck, why not apply it to the war on drugs? Decades – heck, centuries – of drug prohibitionism have done very little to put a dent in illicit drug manufacture, distribution and use. Maybe it’s time to just legalize some of it, and promote safe and responsible use instead.

Or maybe that makes too much sense.