The second of three sons, Michael Barba was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Dallas, where he majored in philosophy and politics. Following graduation, he completed a Graduate Student Fellowship at the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis. While working on his graduate degree—also from the University of Dallas—he began working for a small Austin-based start-up called Citizen Tools, whose mission was to provide citizens with non-partisan policy analyses in multimedia formats.

Michael joined the Texas Public Policy Foundation in June 2014 as a policy analyst in the Center for Education Freedom. He focuses upon education finance, school choice, and multimedia. His work is animated by the belief best-articulated by Thomas Jefferson: “I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised, for the preservation of freedom and happiness.”