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A. Harry Passow, Professor Emeritus at Teachers College, Dies at Age 75

A. Harry Passow, Jacob H. Schiff Professor Emeritus at Teachers College, Columbia University, and one of the world's leading experts on both urban education and gifted education, died March 28 after suffering a stroke. He was 75 years old.

Expert on Urban Education, Education of Gifted

A. Harry Passow, Jacob H. Schiff Professor Emeritus at Teachers College, Columbia University, and one of the world's leading experts on both urban education and gifted education, died March 28 after suffering a stroke. He was 75 years old.

Professor Passow joined the faculty at Teachers College in 1952 and taught until his retirement in 1991. During his nearly four decades as a member of the faculty, he authored several ground-breaking reports on educational practice.

He wrote or edited 31 books, monographs and pamphlets and published more than 225 journal articles and book chapters. His work ranged from the planning of a model school system in Washington, DC (a plan that was never fully implemented, the professor often said) to editing one of the first books to deal with the education of the disadvantaged in urban areas.

Soon after he joined the Teachers College faculty, he became a curriculum associate with the Teachers College Citizenship Education Program, a large-scale effort that had been initiated by Dwight Eisenhower when he was president of Columbia University and that aimed at improving citizenship education in the nation's schools.

In 1954, Passow began his pioneering work in the education of the gifted and talented when he was named director of the Talented Youth Project, one of the first projects studying gifted children, particularly in urban schools. He wrote an article titled "Are We Short-Changing the Gifted?" that appeared in 1955 in School Executive magazine and that article became one of the most talked-about and widely reprinted pieces of the era, particularly after October, 1957, when the Russians launched Sputnik and Americans began to think of how to educate their most gifted students, especially in science and mathematics.

With Miriam Goldberg and Abraham Tannenbaum, Passow authored a work titled Planning for Talented Youth: Considerations for Public Schools (Teachers College Press, 1955). The book, which provided a framework for programs to educate gifted and talented young people, was one of the most widely read of its time.

Over the years, other publications from the Talented Youth Project included studies of ability grouping, bright underachievers, attitudes toward academic brillance, and the education of talented rural youth. Passow directed the Talented Youth Project until it was dissolved in 1965.

In 1962, before most educators were thinking about the special problems of poor children in the cities, Passow convened at Teachers College a two-week Conference on Curriculum and Teaching in Depressed Urban Areas. From that conference came Education in Depressed Areas, edited by Passow and published by Teachers College Press. The book became something of a best-seller within education circles and is considered one of the seminal works on the teaching of urban, disadvantaged youth.

In 1966, Passow accepted the invitation of Dr. Carl F. Hansen, then superintendent of the District of Columbia Public Schools, to undertake a study of the complete system. For the next 18 months, Passow led a team made up of 80 faculty members and 136 graduate students from Teachers College--along with some 10 specialists from other institutions and agencies--in surveying the complete school system. The final report of the project--Toward Creating a Model Urban School System--was issued in September, 1967, and became commonly known as the "Passow Report."

His work with education of the gifted led Passow into the field of international education, and he published several comparative studies of education in different nations. During his career, he also held many positions with the World Council on Gifted and Talented Children, including the presidency.

He served as a visiting professor at Tel-Aviv and Bar-Ilan Universities in Israel and as visiting professor and senior Fulbright lecturer at Stockholm University. In recent years, he has advised the Israeli Ministry of Education on the creation of the first school in that nation devoted exclusively to talented and gifted adolescents.

Born in Liberty, New York, on December 9, 1920, A. Harry Passow was the child of Russian-Jewish immigrant parents and, for most of his youth, he said, he never anticipated going to college. But, when he graduated from Liberty High School in 1938, he was the class valedictorian.

He attended the New York State College for Teachers in Albany (now the State University of New York at Albany), where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1942. He taught science and mathematics for a year at Stony Point (New York) High School before he entered the Army Air Force, where he served as an officer from 1943 to 1946. During World War II, he was a communications security officer serving in the Pacific theater.

Upon being discharged, Passow enrolled in a special program for returning veterans in administration and guidance at the State College in Albany. He then taught high school science for two years before coming to Teachers College, where he earned his Doctor of Education degree in 1951. His dissertation dealt with "Group-Centered Curriculum Leadership."

In 1972, he was named Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Education.

During his career at Teachers College, Passow was director of the Division of Educational Institutes and Programs from 1975 to 1980 and chair of the Department of Curriculum and Teaching from 1968 to 1977. After his retirement in 1991, he served for two years as special advisor on urban education to then Teachers College President P. Michael Timpane.

At the time of his retirement, a scholarship fund was established in Professor Passow's honor.

A long-time resident of Englewood, New Jersey, Passow served for many years on that city's Board of Education, including a term as chairman.

He is survived by his wife, Shirley, whom he married on July 2, 1944; three children, Michael of Englewood, Deborah Yaffe of Annandale, Virginia, and Ruth Warburg of San Diego, California; two sisters, Bess Pizik and Hannah Bernstein; and seven grandchildren.

Published Thursday, Jun. 27, 2002

A. Harry Passow, Professor Emeritus at Teachers College, Dies at Age 75

Expert on Urban Education, Education of Gifted

A. Harry Passow, Jacob H. Schiff Professor Emeritus at Teachers College, Columbia University, and one of the world's leading experts on both urban education and gifted education, died March 28 after suffering a stroke. He was 75 years old.

Professor Passow joined the faculty at Teachers College in 1952 and taught until his retirement in 1991. During his nearly four decades as a member of the faculty, he authored several ground-breaking reports on educational practice.

He wrote or edited 31 books, monographs and pamphlets and published more than 225 journal articles and book chapters. His work ranged from the planning of a model school system in Washington, DC (a plan that was never fully implemented, the professor often said) to editing one of the first books to deal with the education of the disadvantaged in urban areas.

Soon after he joined the Teachers College faculty, he became a curriculum associate with the Teachers College Citizenship Education Program, a large-scale effort that had been initiated by Dwight Eisenhower when he was president of Columbia University and that aimed at improving citizenship education in the nation's schools.

In 1954, Passow began his pioneering work in the education of the gifted and talented when he was named director of the Talented Youth Project, one of the first projects studying gifted children, particularly in urban schools. He wrote an article titled "Are We Short-Changing the Gifted?" that appeared in 1955 in School Executive magazine and that article became one of the most talked-about and widely reprinted pieces of the era, particularly after October, 1957, when the Russians launched Sputnik and Americans began to think of how to educate their most gifted students, especially in science and mathematics.

With Miriam Goldberg and Abraham Tannenbaum, Passow authored a work titled Planning for Talented Youth: Considerations for Public Schools (Teachers College Press, 1955). The book, which provided a framework for programs to educate gifted and talented young people, was one of the most widely read of its time.

Over the years, other publications from the Talented Youth Project included studies of ability grouping, bright underachievers, attitudes toward academic brillance, and the education of talented rural youth. Passow directed the Talented Youth Project until it was dissolved in 1965.

In 1962, before most educators were thinking about the special problems of poor children in the cities, Passow convened at Teachers College a two-week Conference on Curriculum and Teaching in Depressed Urban Areas. From that conference came Education in Depressed Areas, edited by Passow and published by Teachers College Press. The book became something of a best-seller within education circles and is considered one of the seminal works on the teaching of urban, disadvantaged youth.

In 1966, Passow accepted the invitation of Dr. Carl F. Hansen, then superintendent of the District of Columbia Public Schools, to undertake a study of the complete system. For the next 18 months, Passow led a team made up of 80 faculty members and 136 graduate students from Teachers College--along with some 10 specialists from other institutions and agencies--in surveying the complete school system. The final report of the project--Toward Creating a Model Urban School System--was issued in September, 1967, and became commonly known as the "Passow Report."

His work with education of the gifted led Passow into the field of international education, and he published several comparative studies of education in different nations. During his career, he also held many positions with the World Council on Gifted and Talented Children, including the presidency.

He served as a visiting professor at Tel-Aviv and Bar-Ilan Universities in Israel and as visiting professor and senior Fulbright lecturer at Stockholm University. In recent years, he has advised the Israeli Ministry of Education on the creation of the first school in that nation devoted exclusively to talented and gifted adolescents.

Born in Liberty, New York, on December 9, 1920, A. Harry Passow was the child of Russian-Jewish immigrant parents and, for most of his youth, he said, he never anticipated going to college. But, when he graduated from Liberty High School in 1938, he was the class valedictorian.

He attended the New York State College for Teachers in Albany (now the State University of New York at Albany), where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1942. He taught science and mathematics for a year at Stony Point (New York) High School before he entered the Army Air Force, where he served as an officer from 1943 to 1946. During World War II, he was a communications security officer serving in the Pacific theater.

Upon being discharged, Passow enrolled in a special program for returning veterans in administration and guidance at the State College in Albany. He then taught high school science for two years before coming to Teachers College, where he earned his Doctor of Education degree in 1951. His dissertation dealt with "Group-Centered Curriculum Leadership."

In 1972, he was named Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Education.

During his career at Teachers College, Passow was director of the Division of Educational Institutes and Programs from 1975 to 1980 and chair of the Department of Curriculum and Teaching from 1968 to 1977. After his retirement in 1991, he served for two years as special advisor on urban education to then Teachers College President P. Michael Timpane.

At the time of his retirement, a scholarship fund was established in Professor Passow's honor.

A long-time resident of Englewood, New Jersey, Passow served for many years on that city's Board of Education, including a term as chairman.

He is survived by his wife, Shirley, whom he married on July 2, 1944; three children, Michael of Englewood, Deborah Yaffe of Annandale, Virginia, and Ruth Warburg of San Diego, California; two sisters, Bess Pizik and Hannah Bernstein; and seven grandchildren.

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