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Mitch Pearlstein

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Mitch Pearlstein

Mitch Pearlstein is Founder and President of Center of the American Experiment, a nonpartisan, tax-exempt, public policy and educational institution which brings conservative and free market ideas to bear on the hardest problems facing Minnesota and the nation.  A think tank, for short.

Before his 1990 return to the Twin Cities, Dr. Pearlstein served for two years in the U.S. Department of Education, during the Reagan and (first) Bush administrations, where he held three positions, including Director of Outreach for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement.  Just prior to his federal service in Washington, Dr. Pearlstein spent four years as an editorial writer and columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, where he focused on foreign and national affairs.

He also has been special assistant for policy and communications to Gov. Albert H. Quie of Minnesota; a research fellow at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota; assistant to University of Minnesota President C. Peter Magrath (pronounced Ma-grah); director of public information at Binghamton University; a reporter for The Sun-Bulletin, again in Binghamton; and a columnist for CityBusiness and Twin Cities Business Monthly.

Dr. Pearlstein’s most recent book is From Family Collapse to America’s Decline: The Educational, Economic, and Social Costs of Family Fragmentation (2011).  He is also author of Riding into the Sunrise: Al Quie and a Life of Faith, Service & Civility (2008); co-author (with Katherine A. Kersten) of Close to Home (2000); co-editor (with Wade F. Horn and David Blankenhorn) of The Fatherhood Movement: A Call to Action (1999); co-editor (with Annette Meeks) of Minnesota Policy Blueprint (1999); and editor of Certain Truths: Essays about Our Families, Children and Culture from American Experiment’s First Five Years (1995). He is currently working on a follow-up to From Family Collapse to America’s Decline, tentatively titled Drawn & Quartiled: What Will America Look Like if Massive Family Fragmentation Continues?

A former adjunct professor of public administration at Hamline University in St. Paul, he earned his Ph.D. in educational administration, with an emphasis on higher education policy, at the University of Minnesota.  He did his undergraduate work in political science at Binghamton University.  In 2006, the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota named him one of 100 “Distinguished Alumni” from the college’s first 100 years.

Dr. Pearlstein is a director of the Greater Twin Cities United Way; Minneapolis-based MicroGrants; and Veritas et Lux Preparatory School in St. Peter, MN.  He formerly served as chairman of Minnesotans for School Choice and the St. Paul-based Partnership for Choice in Education, as well as a director of the General John Vessey Jr. Leadership Academy.  He is a member of the New York-based Commission on Parenthood’s Future and the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.  He was a member of the Aspen Institute’s Domestic Strategy Group; the Citizens League Higher Education Study Committee; the Steering Committee of Minnesotans for Major League Baseball; and a founder of the Washington-based Center for New Black Leadership. 

He is married to the Rev. Diane Darby McGowan, a Minneapolis Police chaplain.  They live in Minneapolis and have four adult children, four grandchildren, and currently only two dogs.

August 2013

Mitch Pearlstein's Archive

Dec 11, 2014
Lest there be any confusion below about what I think about the Grand Jury’s decision in Ferguson, Missouri, based on what I’ve read, I believe jurors got it right by not indicting Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown. Once the verdict was announced and evidentiary record released, it’s clear that Wilson had reason to believe that Brown was out to seriously hurt him, perhaps kill him with the officer’s own gun. Among talking heads and other observers, it’s likewise clear that those who support what the Grand Jury did routinely cite specific facts about a specific case, while those who condemn the Grand Jury habitually argue in generalities.
Nov 17, 2014
I hadn’t known that former Congressman Bill Frenzel was terminally ill until about three weeks ago when he sent me a letter saying kind things about American Experiment, but also noting that the enclosed check would be his last contribution to us. It took me a while to figure out exactly what he was saying, as I had a hard time deciphering the word “tumors.” “Evil tumors,” was the way he put it. But once I did figure it out, sadness joined gratitude which spurred memories. He died earlier today at his home in Virginia. He was 86.
Nov 8, 2014
Following a recent Star Tribune exposé about how children in Minnesota are falling through child protection cracks — more than 50 times to their deaths over the last decade — Gov. Mark Dayton charged a task force with investigating why this has been happening and recommending ways of stopping it from happening again. I’m guessing members of the group will cover a lot of ground over the next few months and then write a report containing more than a few pointed words.
Sep 29, 2014
For many, the Adrian Peterson child abuse case spanning Texas to Minnesota has been tough to grasp as, up until several weeks ago, he was viewed by most people who knew anything about him as a good man, not just a great football player for the Minnesota Vikings. Compounding matters is that the charges against him have exposed a parallel universe of baby making and child rearing that most Americans don’t get to see every day. But when they do, most find it hard to fathom.
Sep 19, 2014
A quick note about the Adrian Peterson situation.
Sep 17, 2014
Mitch Pearlstein Discusses New Book on Hugh Hewitt Show (9.17.14)
Sep 9, 2014
Please Join Us for a Reception and Signing Marking Founder & President Mitch Pearlstein’s Newest Book
Sep 2, 2014
Mitch Pearlstein Debates MN2020's Michael Dietrich on Education (9.2.14) From Bloise Olson's podcast.
Aug 25, 2014
Mitch Pearlstein on Bill Bennett Discussing New Book: Broken Bonds (8.25.14)
Aug 18, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS (August 18, 2014) – Center of the American Experiment announced today that Founder and President Mitch Pearlstein’s new book, Broken Bonds: What Family Fragmentation Means for America’s Future, will be released by Rowman & Littlefield on August 22.