Dr. Samuel Halperin, a widely respected national education policymaker for over six decades, died in Washington, DC on May 6, 2014 at age 84 of pancreatic cancer. As US Assistant Commissioner of Education for Legislation in the Lyndon B. Johnson administration, he was one of the chief architects of the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. As Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, he was also the Johnson Administration's principal liaison to Capitol Hill for the Higher Education Act of 1965 and a dozen other groundbreaking education laws.
From 1969 to 1981, he led The George Washington University's Institute for Educational Leadership and its professional development and fellowship programs operating in over 35 states.
As study director of the William T. Grant Foundation Commission on Work, Family and Citizenship (1986-1993), he co-wrote the influential 1988 reports, The Forgotten Half: Non-College Youth in America and Pathways to Success for America's Youth and Young Families. "The forgotten half," a phrased he coined, refers to the majority of America's young people who do not complete high school or pursue career-related postsecondary education, and who consequently face dim economic and social futures.
Beginning in 1968, Halperin founded the Institute for Educational Leadership, the American Youth Policy Forum, and other foundation-funded professional development organizations for policymakers in education and employment training in order to bridge the gap between research, policy and practice in education and youth development, including preparation for employment and national and community service.
Dr. Halperin is the author or editor of a dozen books on the political process and educational policy issues, and over 100 articles. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from Washington University St. Louis in 1956 and, over his career, taught at Wayne State, American, Duke, and Teachers Columbia University, and lectured at many others.
Over the years, Halperin served as a director or advisory board member of over fifty nonprofit organizations, including the US Peace Corps, Secretary of the Navy's Board of Education and Training, Center for Youth as Resources, Associates for Renewal in Education, DC Commission on National Service, Learning Matters on PBS, Council for the Advancement of Adult Literacy, National School Volunteer Program, Jobs for the Future, DC Private Industry Council, National School-to-Work Advisory Council, and American Friends of the Israel National Council for the Child.
Dr. Halperin was twice awarded the Distinguished Service Award of the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award of Jobs for the Future, President's Medal of the George Washington University, Harry S. Truman Award of the American Association of Community Colleges, and Lewis Hine Award to Children and Youth of the National Child Labor Committee.
Recently, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wrote in a note to Dr. Halperin, "You helped improve educational opportunity for tens of millions of children. We are all in your debt, and try to live up to the example of public service you set for all of us."
His survivors include his wife of over 60 years, Marlene Halperin, son Dr. Elan Halperin (Dr. Barbara Brynelson) of Rockville, MD, and daughter Deena Barlev (Dr. Robert King) of Silver Spring, MD. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Dr. Daniel Halperin of Seattle, WA; Dr. Gilad Barlev (Jennifer Barlev) of Alexandria, VA; Ariel Halperin of Hollywood, FL; Maya Barlev of Washington, DC; and Talia Halperin of Seattle, WA.
The family will welcome friends on Saturday, May 10, from 1 pm to 5 pm at the home of Deena Barlev, 16114 Llewellyn Manor Way, Silver Spring, MD. Contributions may be made to the Sixth and I Historic Jewish Synagogue, or The Latin American Youth Center, both of Washington, DC.