Who is Sir Michael Barber?

Christel Swasey, Renee’ Braddy, and Alisa Ellis discuss Sir Michael Barber.  Who is he and why to do we care?  Watch the discussion below:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByxgY3wxf0o]
Sir Michael Barber is the Chief Education Advisor at Pearson PLC.   He’s an outspoken  Common Core and global common standards promoter whose book, Deliverology 101,  is written specifically for leaders of American Education reform.”

At last month’s British Education Summit, Barber gave a speech entitled “Whole System Revolution: The Education Challenge For the Next Decade”.


John Seddon, British management guru and president of Vanguard, has a multi-part YouTube series entitled “Why Deliverology Made Things Worse in the UK.”

“I don’t go around the world bashing Deliverology, but I think I should,” said Seddon. Seddon defines “deliverology” as “a top-down method by which you undermine achievement of purpose and demoralize people.”http://youtu.be/2sIFvpRilSc

Seddon says “deliverology” imposes arbitrary targets that damage morale.

But in Barber’s view, education reform is a “global phenomenon,” no longer to be managed by individuals or sovereign countries; education reform has “no more frontiers, no more barriers,” he said at the August summit on education.


Barber showed a chart during his summit speech, displayed at 12:06 minutes, which he calls a goal of “whole system revolution,” pinpointed as the sum of the following addends: systemic innovation + sameness of standards + structure + human capital.

Sir Michael Barber said: “We want data about how people are doing. We want every child on the agenda.” (6:05)  He specifies that “every child” means every “global citizen.”

http://youtu.be/ltAeLXUCqaQ .

In another clip, Barber praises Common Core (CC) at a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) interview.

In yet another interview –also with the CFR– Barber says, “Can I congratulate the CFR for getting into this issue? I think it’s great to see education as an issue of national security and foreign policy as well as economic and domestic policy.” http://castroller.com/Podcasts/InsideCfrEvents/2695637

But as we all know, under the U.S. Constitution, education in the U.S. is supposed to be state-led, not a federal or internationally-determined, issue.

Then there’s the BBC interview. http://youtu.be/vTYMFzOv0wQ

In this clip, on the BBC show Hardtalk, Barber outlines the benefits of “private and public partnership.”  http://www.un.org/partnerships/unfip_partner.html)

Pearson “invests,” says Barber, by purchasing cheap schools in developing countries in partnership with governments.

Pearson works hand in hand with both nongovernmental agencies (NGA and CCSSO) and with governmental agencies (U.S. Department of Education) to promote global education and Common Core. Because he sees  global control of education and U.S.  Common Core as one and the same.

Evidence? Look at 6:05 on http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA –the August Summit speech.

Barber says that every country should have exactly the same definition of what it “means to be good at maths”.

At 4:00 he says that “citizens of the world” including every single child, “all 9 billion people who will be alive in 2050” must know E(K+T+L) –which stands for (Knowledge + Thinking + Leadership) multiplied by “ethical underpinnings.”

Then Barber explains that the “ethical underpinning” is “shared understanding” of earth and “sustainability” that every child in every school around the world will learn. Ethics, to Barber, have nothing to do with  individual liberty, the Constitution, or the Golden Rule.  It’s about the global collective.

Pearson is very successful in selling Common Core curriculum, online assessments, teacher professional development, and technological resources nationwide. http://commoncore.pearsoned.com/index.cfm?locator=PS11Uz

Common Core is very big business. The Wall Street Journal quotes Pearson’s CEO on Common Core as a financial goldmine:

“‘It’s a really big deal,’ says Peter Cohen, CEO of Pearson’s K-12 division, Pearson School. ‘The Common Core standards are affecting literally every part of the business we’re involved in.'” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303674004577434430304060586.html

When the BBC interviewer accused Sir Barber of leading Pearson to take over nations’ sovereign educational systems,  Barber said, as a defense, “I worked for government.  I love government. I think government is a really important, a big part of the solution.”

Advising governments from the U.S. to Pakistan on how to implement nationalized education is Barber/Pearson’s specialty.

As the UK Guardian writes:

“…Barber and his graphs have gone global. As McKinsey’s hubristically titled “head of global education practice”, he has set up a US Education Delivery Unit (albeit as a private sector rather than government venture), co-authored books that claim to identify what makes national education systems successful, and taken the joint chairmanship of a taskforce in Pakistan to establish “national standards” in basic subjects. Now he’s becoming chief education adviser to Pearson, owner of Penguin Books and the Financial Times and also, in its own description, “the world’s leading learning company“, with interests in 70 countries…”http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jun/14/michael-barber-education-guru

Pearson has long been partnered with Achieve Inc., which is alarming because Achieve, Inc. happens to be a co-author of Barber’s “Deliverology 101” and Achieve  also happens to partner  “with NGA and CCSSO on the [Common Core] Initiative, and a number of Achieve staff and consultants served on the [Common Core] writing and review teams,” in Achieve’s own words. http://www.achieve.org/achieving-common-core

These combinations of NGOs, the Pearson company, and the Federal Government, appear to literally be taking over educational decision-making.

Some on the Utah State School Board have said that “We can get out of Common Core anytime we like,” but Sir Michael Barber emphasizes the importance of what he’s dubbed “irreversible reform.”

“If you want irreversible reforms, work on the culture and the minds of teachers and parents,” Barber says.

He says this is important; otherwise, parents or traditionalists might repeal what’s been done because of their “wish for the past.”

He defines “sustainable reform” as “irreversible reform” and aims to “make it so it can never go back to how it was before.”