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An Illusion of Equity (Hardback)

The Legacy of Eugenics in Today's Education

P&S History > Humanities > Philosophy P&S History > Social Science & Culture > Education

Imprint: University Press of Kentucky
Pages: 270
ISBN: 9780813197661
Published: 1st August 2023
Casemate UK Academic

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Public education plays a crucial role in crafting a nation's future. In the United States, education reform policy, particularly the reliance on large-scale, standardized testing, is a growing topic of national conversation and concern. An Illusion of Equity: The Legacy of Eugenics in Today's Education demonstrates how centuries of propaganda have led us to accept the idea that test scores indicate something so valuable about human beings that they should be used to organize society.


Drawing on decades of experience as an educator, author Wendy Zagray Warren unpacks the origins of this practice, inviting us to probe the ideologies underlying testing procedures and score interpretation and to evaluate the rationale for using test scores as the sole markers for academic achievement. From the beginning, large-scale tests have produced scores divided by race and class. Initially, these results aligned with the eugenic ideology of its creators. Warren shows that while the rhetoric used to justify test-based policy has changed, the model used to produce test scores remains much the same. Therefore, so do the outcomes of test-based policies, which continue to reproduce and reinforce the existing social hierarchy of the United States.


The hope of equity lies in educators charting new paths and scholars around the world who are dreaming new educational paradigms into being. Ultimately, Warren invites policymakers, educators, and parents to explore the richness of possibility when education is designed around the belief that every child is worthy of the opportunity to thrive.

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