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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

Jul 30, 2014
Minnesota's students are not being adequately prepared for 21st century jobs. All Minnesota students deserve the opportunity to choose an education that will put those jobs within their reach.
Jul 21, 2014
French economist Thomas Piketty is hot these days, contending that capitalism doesn’t lift enough boats and may lift even fewer as we sail further into the night. For the sake of argument (and only that), let’s say he’s right.
Jun 30, 2014
I think back to how well I was "mentored." How, in addition to learning technical tools of several trades, I was persuaded to have confidence -- "faith" is not too strong a word -- in the decency of the great majority of men and women who lead public institutions in this state and nation. The idea that either Magrath or Quie could be party to anything suspect, much less sleazy, was beyond cogitation.
Jun 30, 2014
You perhaps more or less remember what congressman and former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said on a radio talk show a few months ago about “work” and “culture.” It led to a midsize flap about whether he is a racist.
Jun 30, 2014
Anybody remember Caroline Bird? A feminist writer of no particular economics expertise, she wrote a reasonably high-profile book in 1975, The Case Against College, in which she argued: "The gap between the income of the college educated and noncollege educated will surely begin to narrow very soon."
May 22, 2014
What’s more important when it comes to current matters of race in the United States? That the pathetic owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, possibly in the early stages of some kind of dementia, said absurdly racist things to his mistress?
May 4, 2014
When it comes to elementary and secondary education in Minnesota and especially the Twin Cities, vouchers represent the single most promising approach for reducing immense achievement gaps between white and many minority students. Gaps which are just about the biggest in the country and which pose greater threats to economic and individual progress here than perhaps in any other major metropolitan area in the nation.
Apr 21, 2014
Along with much of the rest of the world, I heard portions of Handel’s magnificent “Messiah” this past Holy Week. I first listened to it in a serious way a half-century ago when, along with other tone-challenged teenagers representing a variety of non-Christian and Christian faiths, I sang parts of it in a music class at Far Rockaway H.S. in Queens. I vaguely recall that the teacher was a “Mr. Ruff,” who actually was quite compassionate as he explained how the only difference between boys sounding like Gordon McRae and those who still screeching like Tiny Tim was but a sliver of heft in one’s vocal cords.
Mar 23, 2014
Minnesota faces a new reality as baby boomers retire: an increased demand for public services with fewer public dollars. There are solutions but they may require redesigning political campaigns, our schools, local and state governments -- and our own expectations. Last in a series.
Mar 5, 2014
Ever get the sense too many laws, regulations, and rules are causing us to leech common sense from a pipe bigger than the one Keystone foes don’t like? Prohibitions which, if they are not absurd on their face, are frequently interpreted that way.