Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform: #7 – Sir Michael Barber, CEA Pearson   30 comments

Sir Michael Barber:   Pearson CEA 

Countdown # 7

This is the fourth in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the top ten scariest people leading education in America.  For number 8number 9 and number 10,  click here.

Sir Michael Barber of England,  Chief Education Advisor at Pearson and Common Core promoter extraordinare, is also a global education standards promoter.

Did you catch that?  Global standards.  Barber wants every child in every country learning the same thing at the same time.  Barber talks about “sustainable reform” as “irreversible reform” and he directs education policy makers to “make it so it can never go back to how it was before.”

Talk about scary. So, freedom advocates (including me) are regularly labeled “misinformed” by state school boards and governors.  We  jump up and down, shouting at the top of our lungs that Common Core creates irreversible damage to traditional education and to local autonomy.  But our leaders assure us –I even heard the legislative lawyer advise our Senate Education Committee say that “We can get out of Common Core anytime we like.”

But you see, Sir Michael Barber, CEA of the world’s largest educational sales company, is openly selling “irreversible reform.”  

“If you want irreversible reforms, work on the culture and the minds of teachers and parents.” Otherwise, he says, people might repeal what’s been done because of their “wish for the past.”

Barber is praised and even quoted by  the U.S. Secretary of Education.  And Barber’s famous book, Deliverology 101, is dedicated “specifically for leaders of American Education reform.”  (Yes, the reformers who listen to those who are on this “Scariest People” list.)

At a recent British Education Summit, Barber gave a speech entitled “Whole System Revolution: The Education Challenge For the Next Decade“.  He likes the word “revolution” and he uses it a lot.  Just check out his twitter  stream.

Meanwhile, another British management guru, the president of Vanguard, John Seddon, says Barber is wrong.  Check out Seddon’s speech entitled “Why Deliverology Made Things Worse in the UK.”  Seddon says, “I don’t go around the world bashing Deliverology, but I think I should.”   Why?

Seddon says that Barber’s “deliverology” imposes arbitrary targets that damage morale.  He explains that Deliverology works because it’s merciless.  Deliverology, says Seddon, is “a top-down method by which you undermine achievement of purpose and demoralize people.”

Barber uses his Deliverology method to push global education reform because, 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.

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

Sir Michael Barber has not been dubbed “a control freak’s control freak” for nothing.  Barber promotes global data collection and “whole system revolution” .  See the chart during his summit speech, displayed at 12:06 minutes, and pinpointed as:

Systemic innovation + Sameness of standards + Structure + Human capital

(Whenever anyone uses the term “human capital” I run screaming from the room.   It sounds like somebody owns the humans.  It sounds like slavery.  But add Barber’s passion for Mcstandardization and top-down structuring of systems and what do you envision?   Not self-determination.  Not freedom.  Not local control.)

“We want data about how people are doing. We want every child on the agenda,” he says.  At minute 6:05 (above) he specifies that “every child” means every “global citizen.”  –What’s wrong with being a global citizen, you ask?  Well, for starters, when you give yourself to the globe rather than to your nation, you lose your constitutional and property rights as they are swallowed up in a global governance system.

Absurdly, this British Pearson sales advisor, Barber, praises Common Core in American interviews. He 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…”

Then there’s the BBC interview.

In this clip, on the BBC show Hardtalk, Barber outlines what he sees as benefits of “private and public partnership (PPP).”  (In a nutshell, why I’m against PPPs: voters have no voice; unelected business people make government policy but business people have no voter consituency, thus no accountability. But PPPs are what globalists promote.  See: )

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  –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 the “ethical underpinnings” of environmentalism.

Barber explains that the “ethical underpinning” is “shared understanding” of earth “sustainability” that every child in every school around the world will learn.

Ethics, to Barber is all about global collectivism.  So is he a communist?  He certainly doesn’t use the word.  But he does talk about the need for America to remove its gun rights, to remove diversity to replace it with standardization, to install top-down control of systems, and to promote thinking as citizens of the world rather than as citizens of nations.  You do that math.

It wouldn’t be so bad if he was a loony bin off in a cabin.  But this man directs curriculum production for the largest curriculum producer on earth.  His company, Pearson, is everywhere.  Pearson textbooks and technologies are in virtually every school and university in America. Pearson does teacher professional development.  Pearson runs EnVision math.  Pearson does early childhood education assessment.  Pearson pushes millions to implement Common Core.

Common Core is very big business for Pearson.  In fact, Pearson has long been partnered with Achieve Inc.,  a co-author of Barber’s “Deliverology 101.” And Achieve also helped write the Common Core.  Achieve says the company joined “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.”  It’s BIG  business.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Pearson’s CEO on Common Core as a gold mine:

“‘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.'”

When the BBC interviewer accused Sir Barber of leading Pearson to take over nations’ sovereign educational systems, Barber said, in defense, “I worked for government. I love government. I think government is a really important, a big part of the solution.”  Of course he does.  It’s all about Public Private Partnerships, the collusion of business and government under the guise of improving education.

Advising governments from the U.S. to Pakistan on how to implement nationalized education is Barber/Pearson’s specialty, according to the UK Guardian:
“… 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…”

If Pearson were siphoning off American taxpayers’ money to sell books and technologies that would teach American to value America and to learn traditional math and other good things, I would not be writing this article; this is not a criticism of corporate greed.

It is a criticism of the American school boards, teachers and taxpayers who allow ourselves to blindly purchase countless Pearson technologies and teacher trainings when that organization and its curricular content is led by Sir Michael Barber, advocate of globally standardized education, of irreversible reforms, of global data collection, and of the dismissal of individual voices of representation through the promotion of public private partnerships.


30 responses to “Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform: #7 – Sir Michael Barber, CEA Pearson

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  2. This just keeps getting scarier and scarier all the time. How do we get people to understand all this and stop what they are doing? By parents not getting involved and not informing themselves of what their children will be learning, they are the ones who are hurting this country.
    I hope that anyone and everyone who is reading this needs to speak up to their state senators and representatives and make their voices heard. Contact all reps on education committees for the state and your state School Board superintendent. They need to hear your voices.

    Debbie Higginbotham
    • Debbie, we just have to keep talking to anyone willing to listen. The most important people to talk to are our state school boards and our governors, who signed us up for this. The burden of proof is on THEM to prove that the common core is so amazing that it justified skipping due process and imposing it on all children without asking for legitimate debate and vetting by parents, teachers, school boards, taxpayers or legislators. The burden of proof is on THEM to show that common core has some sort of amendment process and is not education without representation. The burden of proof is on THEM to prove that a parent can opt a child opt out of both the common standards and the data collection of the federally set up State Longitudinal Database Systems (SLDS). For Utahns: Write the School Board at

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  4. I am thoroughly enjoying your research as I know tons about the older “change agents” for evil in education but little of those in power now, so I thank you.

  5. Since I am a research geek here’s a tidbit from this “lovely” guy, “Every system needs, at every level, to track the progress of every student, to be
    transparent about performance and to have means of intervening to remove barriers
    to success at the level of the student, the classroom, the school and the system. Good
    data systems are the bedrock of this possibility. None of this is easy but, if we really
    believe in high standards for every young person, it is essential. Again most systems
    don’t yet do this but this too is known and so evidently practical.” sir Michael Barber, CEA Pearson Inc,

  6. oops hit send too soon…sorry to hog the comments but here’s another piece from the same article, “What stops us? Erring on the generous side, it should be pointed out that much of
    this system knowledge is recent and insufficiently understood by leaders around the
    world. There are other more serious problems though. Obsessions with policies
    which are both wrong and expensive, such as continuing marginal reductions in
    class size or protecting teachers’ “rights” – regardless of the evidence – to teach as
    they wish in the citadel of their own classrooms, are still widespread. Many still cling
    to the demonstrably false view that creativity consists of each teacher making it up in
    their own classroom.”

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  15. this whole thing is a gimmick to rake in money from all the new publications -they do not care one iota about what students learn

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  19. I thank God for people like you who strive to provide the TRUTH to others. I live in rural Eastern NC, and these ignorant people here think that Common Core is the best thing for their students. They have no clue, nor do they want to listen to reason. These are churchgoing people who profess to be Christians and Conservatives!!! Please keep going!!!

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  24. Christel: This post first alerted me to Michael Barber. Here’s my new piece on his book, Deliverology:


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

    Do you have a source for this quotation? Thanks.

  28. Pingback: So who makes the most profit off of American education? – cassiodorus

  29. Pingback: On the global expansion of private schools - | Different news for different mood

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