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Mitch Pearlstein

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Mitch Pearlstein

Mitch Pearlstein, Ph.D.

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; assistant to University of Minnesota President C. Peter Magrath (pronounced Ma-grah); a research fellow at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs; 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 Broken Bonds: What Family Fragmentation Means for America’s Future (2014).  He’s also author of From Family Collapse to America’s Decline: The Educational, Economic, and Social Costs of Family Fragmentation (2011); Riding into the Sunrise: Al Quie and a Life of Faith, Service & Civility (2008); co-author (with Katherine A. Kersten) of Close to Home: Celebrations and Critiques of America’s Experiment in Freedom (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). 

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 president of OAK (Opportunity for All Kids); a director of Minneapolis-based MicroGrants; a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs; a member of the Advisory Committee for the Master’s Program in Public Policy at the University of St. Thomas; and a member of the New York-based Commission on Parenthood’s Future.  He’s a former director of the Greater Twin Cities United Way; chairman of Minnesotans for School Choice; chairman of the St. Paul-based Partnership for Choice in Education; and a director of the General John Vessey, Jr. Leadership Academy.  He also 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 police chaplain and deacon of an Episcopal parish.  They live in Minneapolis and have four adult children, six grandchildren, and currently only two dogs. 

January 2015

Mitch Pearlstein's Archive

Sep 6, 2011
Consider this a Labor Day vote for loyalty. Remember Aaron Feuerstein? He was the 70-year-old owner of Malden Mills Industries, the inventor and manufacturer of sophisticated textile products like Polartec fleece, whose factory mostly burned down in the biggest industrial fire ever in Massachusetts in December 1995.
Sep 2, 2011
I might have been 10 or even older before I realized that Labor Day wasn’t a Jewish holiday, as it just sounded that way.
Sep 1, 2011
Mitch Pearlstein's new book, "From Family Collapse to America's Decline: The Educational, Economic, and Social Costs of Family Fragmentation," is now available.
Aug 25, 2011
For several years after he was elected to the United States Senate in 1990, Paul Wellstone spent a portion of Labor Day at the Minnesota State Fair sharing pleasantries and more serious conversation with leisurely moving lines of even more leisurely dressed constituents.
Aug 16, 2011
Tim Pawlenty is out of the presidential race in part because he was supposedly too nice to Mitt Romney in a debate but not nice enough to Michele Bachmann in a subsequent one.
Aug 16, 2011
Many conservatives define our public-school problems in terms of teachers unions, administrator organizations, colleges of education, and the rest of the educational establishment holding oligopolistic sway. In essence, they are looking to governmental change to fix what are, in large measure, the results of social and spiritual problems.
Aug 10, 2011
What does all this time warping mean? Your interpretation is as good as mine. But one thing that can be usefully noted is how the United States is frequently described as both the oldest of continuous democracies but the youngest of societies. The former is true in large part because the lousy record of most of the rest of the world when it comes to freedom.
Aug 4, 2011
In just one week, I will have been a Minnesotan for 37 years, having moved here in 1974 from Binghamton, New York to work at the U of M. While I’m no longer as adept at outdoor activities as I should be in order to impersonate a native – the last time I went fishing I broke my rod by sitting on it – I would like to think I’m still reasonably sophisticated when it comes to our state’s most distinctive athletic and cultural institution. Meaning hockey.
Jul 29, 2011
It’s would be a stretch to say that any kid in Minneapolis Public Schools will wind up doing less well in ninth-grade algebra or tenth-grade English because of the district’s new controversy over the granting of recalculated back pay to 35 central administration officials—some of whom don’t even work there anymore—at the very same time teachers and others were being laid off. But the episode is very much reflective of the kinds of fights and diversions that routinely complicate and subtract from learning in big-city and formerly big-city school operations.
Jul 12, 2011
Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner have combined on an invaluable new book, City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era. The fact they are both Evangelical Christians makes many of their arguments all the more important and brave