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Sowing seeds in Big Apple

Sir Michael Barber, Tony Blair's former education aide, is to help bring British-style reforms to New York schools.

He is being retained by New York education officials to provide advice on a pioneering effort to free hundreds of the city's schools from central control.

Professor Barber, a partner in the London office of consultants McKinsey Company, is working alongside Chris Cerf, former president of Edison Schools, the schools' management company and Alvarez Marsal, a Wall Street consulting firm.

He is helping officials think through the nitty-gritty of devolving managerial, curricular and budget controls to 200 New York schools, starting this September.

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