Date of Graduation

Spring 5-16-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International and Multicultural Education (IME)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education (IME)

First Advisor

Colette Cann


Eugenics was defined as a science which used selective breeding as a mechanism to increase desirable traits in a population while restricting and eliminating undesirable traits. Eugenicists fell out of favor in the United States after the fall of Nazi Germany. Yet, eugenic ideas continued to prevail as they heavily influenced medical, social, and academic systems in the U.S. The country’s education system still carries the legacy of eugenicists who helped to build it. The purpose of this qualitative study is to identify eugenic ideas in federal, district and local school policy and determine their connection to the very local school practices on the practices of school leaders and teachers that ultimately create restrictions for African American students at a middle school in northern California. Using a content analysis approach, the eugenic tenets of heredity and degeneracy were found in policy documents. The existence of these ideas has led to problematic characterization and restrictive practices for African American students.