So I was happy when Liberal Democrat policy was to abolish league tables - even though we knew that someone like the Daily Telegraph would produce them anyway. And I am not that excited to read this in today's Observer:
First a minor point: maybe some middle-class parents or children want schools that are coasting. Different children have different needs, and in the private sector not every school is an examination mill. And nor should they be.
A radical overhaul of school league tables is being planned by the coalition government, it has emerged. One suggestion being considered is a shift to a "like-versus-like" system, in which schools in the poorest parts of the country will only be compared to those facing similarly difficult situations.
Sources say that Tories are open to the Liberal Democrat idea, which Nick Clegg, leader of the Lib Dems and the deputy prime minister, has said would provide a more "honest picture" of how well schools are performing. The new system could also pick out schools in middle-class areas that are thought to be coasting.
More importantly, this enthusiasm for league tables seems to me to appeal to some of the less attractive characteristics of both right and left.
On the right, it plays to the idea that both pupils in teachers in the state sector are lazy and need to be made to work harder.
And on the left, it plays to the warped logic that runs something like this:
I am also uneasy at the implied economic determinism here - the idea that you should only compare schools in poor areas with schools in other poor areas because you cannot expect too much of them.
All people who work in the public sector are motivated high ideals.
Therefore they must be doing good work.
Therefore if league tables fail to show that good work, it is because not enough things are being measured.
Therefore we need more detailed league tables.