Education Secretary Michael Gove plans to scrap dumbed-down GCSEs and reintroduce O-levels, a tougher benchmark. And who can argue with his thinking?
I took my O-levels 26 years ago, one of the last to do so before their abolition in 1988. Since then grades have consistently risen as standards have slipped.
School-leavers today have a wealth of information and educational resources at their disposal that would have flummoxed our class of 1986 but to what end? I may barely be able to work a microfiche but at least I can spell.
I now lecture on journalism at Bournemouth University. The undergraduates are computer-literate, engaged and ambitious. But, blunted by spellchecks, technology and the undeniable shift in education, their spelling and syntax leave much to be desired.
Semi-colons are a mystery to them, apostrophes anathema.
Academics have called for A-levels to be tougher. The Russell Group, which represents 20 of the UK's leading universities, says maths A-level is not "challenging enough" and English needs more "robust critical analysis".
Without the basic building blocks, further education is largely pointless. Tweaking A-levels may be desirable but earlier change is vital.
Our children are being taught how to run, but not how to walk.
My daughter is five years old, a bright pupil at a lauded Church of England primary. But while she knows all about global warming, she cannot tackle basic mathematics.
Gove - often described as the only real Tory - does struggle with the common touch. He has been mocked for his wish to re-establish Latin as a core subject at secondary schools.
I studied Latin from the age of nine and went on to read it at university but even I draw the line on Gove's desire to make classics mandatory. I would far rather schools produced teenagers who were able to speak Spanish or Mandarin - increasingly empowering skills in the global market - than be able to read Livy.
But Gove has a genuine love of learning and the opportunities it gifts. State school educated, he excelled academically, later becoming union president at Oxford University.
And only a fool could suggest that our school system does not need an overhaul. The closure of selective grammar schools in favour of lowest-common-denominator comprehensives has proved a disaster.
So too, our modern obsession with further education for all, is mistaken. Politicians have sought to turn polytechnics and, worse, technical colleges into universities. Why is a three-year arts degree with no obvious job at its end seen as more beneficial to society and to the individual than a vocational skill?
Life is all about personal choice. And education should be no different.
I quibble with Gove over his quintessentially Conservative fondness for reinvention. In truth, I see no reason why GCSEs should be replaced by O-levels. Why not just make GCSEs tougher? A name means nothing.
Just as Margaret Thatcher's cabinet hoped - and, sadly, was proved right - that rebranding the poll tax as the council tax would appease the electorate, the coalition clearly prefers to reboot than revamp.
But, that aside, Gove's suggested restructuring is an undoubted step in the right direction. More than a million young people are currently unemployed in this country.
An education of substance - rather than worthless, upmarked certificates - is their only life raft.
Follow Adam Lee-Potter on Twitter: www.twitter.com/adamleepotter