In an ongoing quest to comprehend what (and why) Common Core is what it is, I’ve found Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor at Pearson PLC.
Sir Barber, a passionate Common Core promoter with a nice British accent, is all about top-down, global McEducation –and global McEverything, actually, from transportation to jails.
“McEverything” is not Barber’s word. His word is “Deliverology.”
His book, “Deliverology 101,” is purposed, oddly, “specifically for leaders of American Education reform.” But what motivates a British citizen to write a manual on American states’ nationalized standards?
At last month’s British Education Summit, Barber gave a speech entitled “Whole System Revolution: The Education Challenge For the Next Decade”.
He spoke as if he’d just finished reading the United Nations Agenda 21 before coming onstage. Creepy ideas, but said in such a nice way. http://youtu.be/T3ErTaP8rTA – (This is Barber’s recent, August 2012, international speech.)
Barber comes across as a nice, slightly weird, old British knight. Actually, he is a knight: Sir Michael Barber was knighted for producing education reforms in England.
Yet some (who are also repected far and wide) scorn his philosophies. 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. Just like Common Core.
But Barber will have none of that. He seems to feel that education reform is too big an issue to pause for things like individual morale.
In Barber’s view, education reform is a “global phenomenon,” so reform is no longer to be managed by individuals or sovereign countries; education reform has “no more frontiers, no more barriers.” Hmm.
Barber shows 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. –Whole system revolution? Human capital? What awful word choices, even for a chart.
Sir Michael Barber adds: “We want data about how people are doing. We want every child on the agenda.” (6:05) –But who are the “we” that will control global data? That one he does not answer.
Barber’s collectivist, global-governance philosophy is everywhere.
In this clip, Barber praises Common Core (CC) at a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) interview, calling CC among other things, “internationally benchmarked.” (That oft-repeated phrase, “internationally benchmarked” is one that Common Core Validation Committee Member, Professor Stotsky, calls false. See http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120510_ControllingEducation.pdf)
In another interview 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
Then there’s the BBC interview.
In this clip, on the BBC show Hardtalk, Barber outlines the benefits of “private and public partnership,” which just happens to be yet another United Nations Agenda 21 bullet point. (See http://www.un.org/partnerships/unfip_partner.html)
Pearson “invests,” says Barber, by purchasing cheap schools in developing countries in partnership with governments. (PPP)
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 they see global education and 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 the supreme sanctity of human life, the idea of God, of individual liberty or the Golden Rule. Nope, it’s about the collective, the earth-oneness.
So, now that we know where Barber stands, what do we do about Pearson? Keep buying what they’re peddling, of course.
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 big business. The Wall Street Journal quotes Pearson’s CEO:
“‘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
And Pearson has long been partnered with Achieve Inc., which also happens to be a co-author of Barber’s “Deliverology 101″ which happens also to partner “with NGA and CCSSO on the [Common Core] Initiative and a number of Achieve staff and consultants served on the writing and review teams”. http://www.achieve.org/achieving-common-core
These combinations of corporations, governments, NGOs and elite philanthropists (Bill Gates) appear to literally be taking over the globe’s educational decision-making.
When the BBC interviewer accused Barber of leading Pearson to take over nations’ educational systems as a huge corporation, 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.”
Well, yes indeed. Advising countries from the U.S. to Pakistan on how to implement nationalized education, is his 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
Will any of this be easy to reverse? Sir Michael Barber emphasizes the importance of what he’s dubbed “irreversible reform.” He defines “sustainable reform” as “irreversible reform” and aims to “make it so it can never go back to how it was before.”
“If you want irreversible reforms, work on the culture and the minds of teachers and parents,” Barber says. Otherwise parents or traditionalists might repeal what’s been done because of their “wish for the past.”
Heaven help us.