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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

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.
Feb 13, 2014
I don’t recall if it was my idea or someone else’s, but about a dozen or more years ago I really wanted Shirley Temple Black, who died Monday at 85, to keynote an American Experiment Annual Dinner, as she would have been beyond perfection.
Jan 29, 2014
Right at the very end of President Obama’s State of the Union address, when he started talking about “feet planted firmly on the ground,” I thought he might break out into at least a recitation of the “Soliloquy” from Carousel. And no, I’m not being the least bit disrespectful by noting this, as never has there been a showstopper, at least by my footlights, as terrific as Billy Bigelow’s. If only Rodgers and Hammerstein (especially Oscar in this instance) had a few weeks to work with Obama in New Haven.
Jan 21, 2014
About new abridged edition of From Family Collapse to American's Decline.
Jan 16, 2014
There's nothing like bad bridgework to leave a body writhing and speechless.
Jan 8, 2014
A long time ago now, the late syndicated columnist William Raspberry was in the Twin Cities for some kind of program and a woman asked a modest question: “How do you fix poverty?” Raspberry, who was a gracious Pulitzer Prize winner, said something about how poverty was a very big problem, and as such, one could jump in just about anywhere and make a contribution. But if he had to choose just one place, he said, he would start with the boys, which is exactly where I start, principally because boys become the men whom women don’t want to marry, and usually for very good reasons.
Jan 8, 2014
A new abridged version of Mitch Pearlstein's book "From Family Collapse to America’s Decline" is now available.
Dec 11, 2013
With the recent release of even more sobering data on how American students are doing compared to their counterparts in much of the developed world, significant numbers of adults in this country doubtless have taken solace by assuming that our weak national performance was principally the result of a lot of poor and minority kids doing lousy on something called “PISA,” which has been conducted under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for a while now.
Nov 27, 2013
Longtime economic and cultural policy advocate Mitch Pearlstein expounds on stabilizing our economy through stabilizing our culture—and the region’s need to fight against becoming average.