Although this book was specifically written for an audience of American education system leaders it is equally relevant to leaders in education systems worldwide, that is once you get past the Americanisms and the term 'deliverology' itself. If we understand any education system as being made up of the frontline institutions that deliver learning (e.g. schools or colleges), the middle tier (usually a form of regional administration) and central government, then Barber's book models a delivery chain method that joins up all three levels. The three levels are co-dependent and therefore jointly accountable for delivery of improvement policy. Traditionally there has been a disconnect between each level in terms of accountability, with each level being held independently responsible, often with separate audit methods, for its part within policy delivery. The implementation model Barber outlines will work if the policy for reforming an education system is owned by each level of the system, is based on robust and honest self-evaluation of where the system currently is and linked to appropriately challenging targets and trajectories for improvement. To me this is common sense but then the common sense barrier is often the hardest one to overcome in policy development and implementation.
Michael Barber helped by his new pals, has at last made the full shift to a USA approach to achieving nothing. If this is the stuff that drives US school improvement, it is unlikely to improve schools. Deliverology failed in the UK and it is failing or will fail, in the USA. It is in fact a failure in systems thinking. To say that this is a tedious read is an understatement. It takes me back many years to when school improvement started out and has clearly moved on not one jot. I could find nothing new and much that was without value. I cannot believe that some claim this to be a best seller: why?