Napoleon famously said that, after his educational reforms, he knew, at any given time of day, what subject every child in France was being taught. But the Howard government is giving him a run for his money in micromanagement, with a promise to specify letter grades from A to E for every student. Parents who’ve read the obscure reports commonly handed by schools will have some sympathy with Nelson on this score, but surely this is the kind of thing that ought to dealt with at the school level (if necessary, with some general guidance from state departments of education).
And if we are going to have letter grades, A to E seems an odd choice, more reminiscent of Brave New World than of actual grading systems parents will have experienced. At least in the three-euphemism systems commonly employed at present (‘tackling this topic with ease’, ‘mostly on top of this topic’,’ not quite yet’) it’s reasonably easy to work out if your kid is failing. And the letter systems I’ve experienced use the mnemonically unambiguous F. What would a D mean in the proposed setup?