Race and Membership in Education: History and Today

Race and Membership in Education

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Race and Membership in Education: History and Today

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Where do we see educational inequity in our schools today, and what are its historical underpinnings? Where do misunderstandings about achievement, intelligence, and fitness come from? What are the roots of intelligence testing and how do they impact us today? And, how do we as educators grapple with what this history means for our work in schools?

In the early 1900s, many people believed that eugenics, or “race science,” was a solution to social problems, arguing that protecting “racial purity” was essential in creating a healthy nation. Eugenics had a profound impact on American educational and public policies.  We will consider how ideas of race and racism evolved during the Progressive Era, and explore how the legacies of this history impact educational inequity today. Participants will explore resistance to these ideas, reflect on what it means for their own classroom context, and be introduced to identity responsive teaching strategies to support educational equity and inclusivity.

We are pleased that Dr. Amanda Lewis will be joining us as our guest scholar at the workshop. Dr. Lewis is the Professor of African American Studies and Sociology at University of Illinois, Chicago, and the Director of the UIC Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy. Her research examines the questions How does race shape children's experiences and outcomes in school? How do racial inequalities and stereotype affect everyday interactions? by looking at the racial gap in academic achievement; how race shapes educational opportunities, and how ideas about race are negotiated in everyday life. Her latest book, co-authored with John Diamond, is Despite the Best Intentions: How Racial Inequity Thrives in Good Schools. She is also the author of Race in the Schoolyard: Negotiating the Color-line in Classrooms and Communities. 

While the materials used in this workshop are recommended for upper middle and high school students, the enduring understandings and content are valuable for all educators as it will help them more deeply understand the field in which they work.

In this workshop, you will:

  1. Consider how the legacies of the “pseudo-science” of the eugenics movement contribute to existing inequities in educational policy and practice today

  2. Generate ideas for integrating identity responsive pedagogy into your classroom

  3. Discover new teaching strategies, classroom activities, and multimedia resources that align with literacy-focused standards

  4. Explore Facing History themes such as identity, membership, and participation

  5. Receive a copy of Race and Membership in American History: The Eugenics Movement


After this workshop, you will:

  1. Become part of the Facing History educator network, with access to a rich slate of educator resources, including downloadable unit and lesson plans, study guides, and multimedia; and

  2. Be able to borrow books and DVDs through our online lending library at no cost.


Illinois Educators can earn 21 Clock Hours for full participation in this course.

Scholarships are available for CPS educators who commit to implementing a 3-6 week unit in their classes. Scholarships cover all costs except a $30 registration fee payable upon acceptance.

For questions regarding this professional development opportunity, please email [email protected]


Facing History and Ourselves
2 N LaSalle
2nd Floor Conference Center
Chicago, IL 60602
6.26.18 - 6.28.18
8:30 am - 3:30 pm

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Everything you need to get started teaching your students about racism, antisemitism and prejudice.