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Eugenics and Education in America

Institutionalized Racism and the Implications of History, Ideology, and Memory


Ann Winfield

Education in America was designed to organize, classify, and sort students according to a definition of ability and human worth provided by a racialized scientism known as eugenics – an ideology whose ultimate goal was the establishment of a superior White race. Eugenicists targeted entire ethnic groups, the urban poor, rural «White trash,» the sexually «deviant,» Blacks, Jews, Native Americans, Asians, Latino/as, and anyone who did not fit with the pseudo-scientifically established «superior» Nordic race. Education leaders, complaining of children of «worm-eaten stock,» established an enduring system to organize and sort students according to perceived societal worth. In exposing and addressing eugenics’ place in our educational system, this book provides a groundbreaking addition to, and exceptional correction of, the history of curriculum in America.