Question: What do Sir Michael Barber, President Barack Obama, and your own children –unless you live in “Common Core-less” Texas or Virginia– each share?
Answer: Common Core national standards.
–True, you won’t hear President Obama use the term “Common Core,” because he’s still saying Common Core is state-led. But it’s a thin disguise wearing thinner by the minute:
If you go to the U.S. Department of Education’s definitions page, you see that his (and Arne Duncan’s) oft-used code phrase for Common Core is “career and college readiness,” defined as Common Core in this way:
“standards that are common to a significant number of States” http://www.ed.gov/race-top/district-competition/definitions
Since there aren’t any other standards “common to a significant number of States,” it’s gotcha-education-reform, Obama and Arne Duncan style.
So, I keep learning more and more about Sir Michael Barber, another Common Core lover-pusher, much to my dismay.
Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor at Pearson, advises governments worldwide, including the U.K. and Pakistan, on how to nationalize education standards. He’s advised governments on how to create “delivery units”. He industrializes and streamlines things. Mercilessly.
What will Sir Michael Barber do for (or to) American education? Well, let’s look at the evidence:
- He uses cozy terms like “revolution,” “global citizen,” “human capital,” “irreversible reform,” “rightsizing,” “sustainable” and “common core” in speeches to the Council on Foreign Relations or at the British Education Summit, for example.
- He praises Common Core and says not only national, but the same global educational standards are to be sought.
- He says he wants data on every “global citizen.” (So he’ll be working to get rid of states’ FERPA and other privacy laws, I guess. Might not prove difficult with Arne Duncan on his side since Duncan’s Dept. of Ed recently changed federal FERPA without Congressional approval, to remove parental consent requirements over student data.)
- He’ll narrow things down so far as to to wring meaningfulness out of them, to “deliver” any goal.
- He’ll push for a political “green” agenda in schools that minimizes the goal of gaining knowledge. By the way– education reform is not a local matter, in Barber’s view, because it’s global, and without borders. He puts “green” training as the “ethical underpinning” that must be placed above general knowledge or the ability to think for oneself. His formula is:
- E (K + T + L) –Knowledge, Thinking and Leadership are to be combined as equal in importance, while Ethical Underpinnings (sustainable “green” environmental awareness) are of number one importance.
- His company, Pearson, is purchasing schools worldwide in “private-public partnerships” (PPP). When a BBC interviewer accused him and his company, Pearson, of trying to take over the governance of schools worldwide, his defense was that Pearson would blend with the governments: “I worked for government. I love government. I think government is a really important, a big part of the solution.”
- He congratulated the Council on Foreign Relations for getting into the education reform business, saying that education is now “an issue of national security and foreign policy.”
- Barber’s preface, in “Deliverology 101,” states that he wrote the book specifically to American educators.
- A co-author of “Deliverology 101” is Achieve, Inc., which helped write the NGA/CCSSO’s Common Core.
- Barber previously used deliverology methods in the U.K., where he made things worse. How? By focusing on a narrow goal to the exclusion of common sense and dignity. According to Professor John Seddon, Barber’s fellow British countryman, deliverology is a management fad that harms what it touches.
In England, Seddon said, deliverology met the goal of reducing emergency room wait times in hospitals by having emergency patients sit and wait indefinitely, in ambulances, rather than emergency rooms, or in designated “other rooms” next to the emergency waiting room. –But oh, they delivered the goal.
At California State University, Seddon said, deliverology met the goal of increasing graduation rates by 8% by:
- paring down the number of classes required to get a degree
- paring down the amount of writing students must do while in college
- eliminating whole academic programs and departments
- increasing student fees sharply
- narrowing a campus’s geographical service area to restrict enrollment
- laying off faculty and support staff
See also CSU Professor Susan Meisenhelder’s “Cautionary Tale” ariticle: http://www.calfac.org/post/cautionary-tale
Let us be wise. We should politely say “No, thank you,” to Common Core, to Deliverology, to EDI, to Sir Michael Barber and to Pearson. Please watch this video, from Professor John Seddon, on the subject.
And… Sir Michael Barber has created a legitimate-sounding “U.S. Education Delivery Institute” (EDI). Sounds governmental. Well, it’s a business. The business of taking over meaningful classroom experience in favor of “delivering” whatever the government(s) mandate at any cost to teachers, students, or legitimate, meaningful learning.
EDI “hosts gatherings of its K-12 and higher education networks several times each year. We also work closely with a number of the state systems, providing training and support.”
EDI is an “organization that focuses on implementing large-scale system change in public education.” They write, “Our mission is to partner with K-12 and higher education systems with ambitious reform agendas and invest in their leaders’ capacity to deliver results. By employing an approach known as delivery, a proven methodology for effective implementation in the public sector, we help state leaders maintain the necessary focus to plan and drive reform. http://www.deliveryinstitute.org/members/sir-michael-barber
It should scare us to think that Sir Michael Barber is creating for the United States “U.S. Education Delivery Units.”
As one British newspaper put it:
“[Barber] 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”. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jun/14/michael-barber-education-guru
How many thousands of American schools are already using Pearson technology, Pearson textbooks, Pearson webinars for teacher trainings? Do we realize who is the man behind this? Do we realize he is a zealot on the extreme left and he has every intention of indoctrinating our kids –what he calls his “human capital” –with his brand of global “green” citizens?
He said, he actually said these words: “we want them to have some knowledge.” Some, as in minimal, not so important. The really big thing, Barber preaches, is the green “ethical underpinning” that must override minor things like knowledge, thinking for oneself, and learning leadership.
Remember his formula.