A. Harry Passow Collection
A. Harry Passow, who was the Jacob H. Schiff Professor Emeritus at Teachers College, was an internationally known expert on urban education and the education of the gifted. Professor Passow taught at Teachers College from 1952 to 1991.
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, D.C. (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 TC 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 and that sought to improve 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 to study 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. That article became one of the most talked-about and widely reprinted pieces of the era, particularly after Oct., 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 his fellow faculty members, 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.
In 1962, before most educators were thinking about the special problems of poor children in the cities, Passow convened at TC 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 in education circles and is considered one of the seminal works on the teaching of urban, disadvantaged youth.
Born in Liberty, N.Y., on Dec. 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 SUNY-Albany), where he earned his BA in 1942. He received his doctorate from TC in 1951.
In 1972, he was named Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Education. During his career at TC, Passow was director of the Division of Educational Institutes and Programs from 1975 to 1980 and chairman of the department of curriculum and teaching from 1968 to 1977.
A. Harry Passow Faculty File