Early assessments are certainly important, but we should avoid assigning Donald Trump a letter grade, as one would do for a high school student. Instead, a better evaluation tool might be the subjective "proficiency reports" that children receive in elementary school.
After you've stopped snickering, consider this: It's probably just as difficult to gauge the long-term success of a kindergartener as it is to predict the ultimate success of a presidency after 100 days. Nevertheless, even for younger students, "proficiency reports" try to discern potential success by examining:
- Is the student making the progress expected of someone at his/her grade level?
- Is the student beginning to grasp and apply key concepts, processes, and skills?
- Does the student have the capacity to learn and grow?
By these standards, our student – Donald J. Trump – would receive a grade of "Needs Improvement."
Over the first 100 days, we've seen a president who has failed to make the progress expected when the White House and Congress are controlled by the same party. Trump has failed to deliver on any of the 10 legislative promises on the campaign trail. Trump has resorted to repackaging campaign promises into executive orders that will take years to develop into concrete policy changes. And his most consequential action – the travel ban – has now been blocked in both of its iterations.