Seymour Sarason

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Seymour Bernard Sarason (January 12, 1919, Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York – January 28, 2010, New Haven, Connecticut)[1] was Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Yale University, where he taught from 1945 to 1989. He is the author of over forty books and is considered to be one of the most significant researchers in education and educational psychology in the United States. The primary focus of his work was on education reform in the United States. In the 1950s he and George Mandler initiated the research on test anxiety. He founded the Yale Psycho-Educational Clinic in 1961 and was one of the principal leaders in the community psychology movement. In 1974, he proposed psychological sense of community a central concept in community psychology. Since then, sense of community has become a well-known and commonly used term both in academic and non-academic settings.

Early life[edit]

Dr. Seymour Sarason was born in Brownsville, Brooklyn New York on January 12, 1919. He grew up in Newark, New Jersey. He died on January 28, 2010 in Hamden, Connecticut. He married Esther Kroop in 1943, and had one daughter, Julie. He received a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University in 1939, a master's from Clark University and his Ph.D. from Clark University in 1942.[2] He is the brother of psychologist Irwin Sarason.

School reform prediction[edit]

Dr. Sarason was world-renowned as an expert in school reform. In 1965 he predicted that all attempts to reform schools would fail. His prediction still has an accuracy of 100%. He believed that schooling needed fundamental changes. Further, he often stated that it was inconceivable to think that an ingrained human social system such as public schooling was easily reformed. The preparation and training of teachers was a good place to begin reform, according to Dr. Sarason.

Key writings in school reform[edit]

Glazek, S.D. and Sarason, S.B. (2007). Productive Learning: Science, Art, and Einstein's Relativity in Educational Reform. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Sarason, S.B. (2006). Letter to a Serious Education President. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Sarason, S.B. (1996 and 1971). Revisiting the Culture of School and the Problem of Change. New York: Teachers College Press.

Sarason, S.B. (1990). The Predictable Failure of Educational Reform: Can We Change Course Before It's Too Late? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


His books and articles include:

  • "Psychological Problems in Mental Deficiency" (1949), Mandler, G., & Sarason, S. B. (1952). A study of anxiety and learning. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 47, pp. 166–173.
  • Anxiety in Elementary Schoolchildren (co-athored with Kenneth S. Davidson, Frederick F. Lighthall, and Richard R. Waite) (1960)
  • Psychology in Community Settings (with Levine, Golden, Cherlin, and Bennett) (1966)
  • The Culture of the School and the Problem of Change (1971)
  • The creation of settings and the future societies (1972)
  • The psychological sense of community: Prospects for a community psychology (1974)
  • Caring and Compassion in Clinical Practice: Issues in the Selection, Training, and Behavior of Helping Professionals (1977)
  • Work, Aging and Social Change Professionals and the One Life-One Career Imperative (1977)
  • Schooling in America:Scapegoat or Salvation (1980)
  • Psychology Misdirected (1981)
  • The Making of an American Psychologist (1988)
  • The predictable failure of educational reform: can we change course before it's too late? (1990)
  • You Are Thinking of Teaching? Opportunities, Problems, Realities (1993)
  • The Case for Change: Rethinking the Preparation of Educators (1993)
  • Letters to a Serious Education President (1993)
  • Parental Involvement and the Political Principle (1995)
  • St. James and Goldstein at Yale (1995)
  • Barometers of change: Individual, educational, and social transformation (1996)
  • Political Leadership and educational Failure (1998)
  • The Skeptical Vision: A Seymour Sarason Education Reader (with Robert L. Fried; 2002)
  • Questions You Should Ask About Charter Schools and Vouchers (2002)
  • And What Do You Mean By Learning? (2004)
  • Revisiting "The culture of the school and the problem of change" (1996)
  • American psychology & schools: a critique (2001)


  1. ^ Grimes, William (February 8, 2010). "Seymour B. Sarason, Leader in Community Psychology, Dies at 91". Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  2. ^ Retrieved 2011-01-27.  Missing or empty |title= (help)