The least surprising news item in today’s Dominion Post was the one revealing that more than 100 academics have written to the government opposing primary school league tables. I hesitate to question the judgment of the Dom Post’s news editor, but the fact that academics are lobbying to preserve the right of their friends in the teaching profession to withhold information from parents about the quality of schools is not news. There is a common thread to every position taken by the teachers’ unions and their supporters in academia, whether it’s opposition to national standards, paranoia about league tables or the recent petulant call for schools’ decile ratings to be kept secret. It’s all about withholding information from parents and taxpayers – the people who use and pay for the education system – so that the unions can continue to exercise control; and it’s presented under the guise of concern for the wellbeing of pupils when it’s really about protecting teachers and schools from critical scrutiny.There was a similar “so what’s new?” quality to an opinion piece in today’s paper attacking the charter schools experiment. It was co-written by Trish Grant of the IHC – a once-respected organisation that has been captured ideologically and consequently lost much of its credibility – and Ian Leckie of the primary school teachers’ union, the NZEI. The vehemence with which opponents are pursuing their offensive against charter schools is telling. It’s only a trial, and on a very modest scale at that, yet the charter schools experiment is clearly seen as a threat to the status quo. We can expect a constant barrage of alarmist propaganda against the charter schools initiative as reactionary sector groups seek to protect their positions, again under the guise of concern for children.