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Common Core 2.0: Oregon’s “P20W” Project Goes Prenatal

Oregon – Common Core State Standards, the new nationwide education plan that has been garnering major criticism for its heavily intrusive nature, data collection, and top-down control, has been taken to the next level by educators through a program called P20W, which would begin preparing children for education while they are still in their mother’s womb.

In a video posted on October 7th, 2013, Oregon Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton who is, for all intents and purposes, the head of the Oregon Department of Education, spoke at a school gathering to discuss new education procedures. These included Common Core, as well as the lesser known “improvement” on Common Core called P20W. We’ll explain what exactly that is in a moment.

The key details about Mr. Saxton, however, are that he was not elected to his position, but instead appointed by the Oregon Superintendent of Public Instruction in July of 2012. However, after a revolutionary 2011 overhaul of the Oregon educational system, the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction was abolished, and the authority of that position was turned over to Governor John Kitzhaber.

According to Saxton, it’s his job to run the Department of Education while the Governor/Superintendent is off doing other work, “like the special sessions,” Saxton said. Governor Kitzhaber recently called a special legislative session to discuss public education, during which legislators allocated $100M to Oregon public schools.

Now, when attempting to understand P20W, we first need to think of our current vernacular for education. For public schools, the common term is “K-12.” Recently, it has even been expanded to “K-16.”

P20W follows that naming scheme.

P – Prenatal (not a typo – literally in the womb)

20 – “Grade” 20. According to Saxton, this is Graduate School. However, the last year of a doctorate program would only be considered Grade 19, so Grade 20, more aptly, is…

W – Workforce


Watch the video, discovered and edited by concerned Oregon parent Jason Schmidt, of Ron Saxton explaining the reasoning and procedures behind the P20W program.

YouTube Preview Image

In the video, Saxton states that “we should be thinking about education from the time that a woman enters, you know, is pregnant, so prenatal, and just like: what their nutrition looks like, what their exercise looks like, what kind of education we can provide working around the child.”

Despite how strange this may seem, much of what Saxton is proposing in the video is within the Department of Education’s jurisdiction.

“The last legislative session moved early childhood into the Department of Education,” Saxton said. He is correct. The bill in question is HB 3234, which passed both the Oregon House and Senate by a wide margin during the 2013 legislative session with bipartisan support.

Saxton, laying out several goals of the project (including teaching students to read by the third grade) states that he used to think the challenge was a “hair-on-fire emergency” from kindergarten to the end of third grade. Now, however, he realizes that the time period is actually prenatal to the end of third grade. He says that, from birth, the Department of Education can work with parents to teach pre-reading skills, and that early childhood schooling like Kindergarten should be less like “day care” and more like education. Saxton also alludes to a large amount of funding provided to work on this effort. The source of this money is currently unknown.

The website “Stop Common Core In Oregon” has done a write-up on the history and impact of P20W, including how the data collected on students can be accessed by almost anyone affiliated, directly or indirectly, with the school district, for any reason provided that they “[need] to review an education record in order to fulfill [their] professional responsibility.”

P20W is not exclusively an Oregon program. This is an experimental part of the national Common Core State Standards program, and could be in the beginning stages of implementation in states across the country. WatchdogWire encourages readers from other states to research P20W in their own state and report on the findings.

WatchdogWire – Northwest will continue watching this story and provide updates when more information is available.

Categories: Education, Must Read
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