Midway through reading Mark Oppenheimer's "There's nothing wrong with grade inflation," I came upon his list of teaching experiences--"Stanford, Wellesley, New York University, Boston College and Yale"--and I sighed, "Of course." At the risk of riding a well-worn hobbyhorse, it appears to be a prerequisite for this sort of essay that the author have spent their entire careers at elite institutions, the sort of institutions that come equipped with things like, oh, money, prestige, extensive support staff, and things of that nature. Oppenheimer, at least, intermittently acknowledges that all of the recommendations in his essay would be near-to-entirely impossible at a school like, say, a small SUNY, especially if that school had large numbers of adjuncts on staff who "can’t write substantial term-end comments, so grades are a necessity if they want to give any feedback at all." Well, yes (or y-e-e-e-s-s-s-s), to borrow from my repertoire of marginal comments. I am trying to be charitable--not least because I'm in the midst of grading, as it happens--but that one concession pretty much demolishes the rest of the essay. We, for example, would love to hire more people, but that would require that the state restore our funding; instead, we have to cut three million from next year's budget. Oppenheimer's experiences are not relevant to anyone who does not hail from his particular academic context, any more than my experiences are particularly relevant to someone from an R1. (I, for example, have seen an awful lot of D and F grades--or E grades, as we say here.) Given that most faculty in the United States teach at small SUNYs or even less-funded venues, and deal with students who come in with different issues related to preparation, finances, work, and the like, it would make sense to perhaps ask some of those faculty about alternatives to grading.