Anthony Cody is rightly concerned about an article in the Néw York Tomes proposing the use of genetics to identify which students need which interventions.

As he observes, eugenics has an ugly history. In the early decades of the twentieth century, some of our leading intellectuals became enthusiastic about the idea that the human race could be improved if we applied the same principles used in breeding animals to the breeding of people. Those of high intelligence and character should marry and reproduce, while those who were of low intelligence should be discouraged from reproducing, even sterilized to prevent them from doing so. That was the moral of the famous story of the Jukes and the Kallikaks. That cautionary tale was included in high school textbooks as late as the 1950s (I know because I read those textbooks in high school).

Now, as Cody writes, eugenics is presented as a new and liberal idea, meant to bring help to those students who need it most. The lesson of the last century is: Beware Unintended consequences. Beware of giving to anyone the power to decree which lives are worthy based on “genetic markers.” In the 1930s, Hitler turned that philosophy into bloody reality.