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Former Education Commissioner Samuel Brownell Dead at 90

October 14, 1990

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ Samuel Brownell, a one-time Nebraska high school teacher who served as U.S. Commissioner of Education in the Eisenhower administration, has died of heart failure at age 90.

Brownell died Friday at Yale-New Haven Hospital after a short illness, said his son, Richard Brownell.

Brownell was a Yale professor and president of the New Haven State Teachers College in 1953 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower named him Commissioner of Education.

At the time, school enrollments were soaring as the ″baby boom″ generation entered public schools across the nation. Brownell urged a rapid expansion of the American education system at all levels, warning that tens of thousands of new schools would be needed.

He also began programs to fight illiteracy and rising dropout rates, pushed for higher salaries and better working conditions for teachers, and prodded Congress to provide more money for education.

He resigned in 1956 to become superintendent of schools in Detroit, taking on the problems of a school system troubled by a high dropout rate, demoralized teachers and racial divisions.

In 10 years in Detroit, Brownell introduced new systems of hiring and promotion that opened top administrative jobs to blacks, and began a $100 million construction program that put up 53 new schools.

He left Detroit in 1966 to return to Yale and part-time teaching.

The one-time Nebraska teacher is survived by his wife, Esther Delzell Brownell, a son, three daughters, and two brothers.