SCHWEBEL--Milton, a psychologist at the forefront of postwar educational reform and peace psychology, died October 3 in Tucson, Ariz. He was 99. For over a half century Professor Schwebel examined how the public school as an institution shaped expectations about children's capacity to learn. His best-known book, "Who Can Be Educated?," was published in 1968, when much of the country was resisting court-ordered school desegregation and believed integration would erode school quality. His most recent book, "Remaking America's Three School Systems: Now Separate and Unequal," published in the aftermath of No Child Left Behind, examines how United States schools continue to shortchange children, especially disadvantaged youth. Schwebel also co-edited, with Jane Raph, the influential book, "Piaget in the Classroom." Schwebel was among the pioneer researchers to investigate children's anxiety about nuclear war. He spearheaded efforts to create the American Psychological Association's "Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence: Peace Psychology" and was the founding editor of the association's journal Peace and Conflict. Throughout his career, the cause of education, social justice, and peace were linked. He argued in his first academic article, published in 1940, that to be strong, a nation needed more than a powerful army; it needed to provide youth with opportunities for education and economic security. Schwebel came of age during the Great Depression. He entered Union College at age 16, majoring in Philosophy. He earned an MA in Human Development and American Civilization from SUNY-Albany. After his marriage to Bernice Davison, he served as a cottage parent at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum and worked for the National Youth Administration. He served in the European Theater during World War II. After earning his Ph.D. from Columbia, he taught at several institutions, including New York University and Rutgers University's Graduate School of Education (Dean). He is survived by a son, Robert; two sisters, Tobie Kessler and Leah Gaies; four grandchildren: David, Sara, Frank, Henry; and two great-grandchildren. He is predeceased by his wife Bernice, son Andrew, and siblings Walter Schwebel and Rosalind Kaufman.
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Published in The New York Times on Oct. 20, 2013