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Mitch Pearlstein

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Mitch Pearlstein

Mitch Pearlstein, Ph.D.

Mitch Pearlstein's new title is Founder and American Experiment Senior Fellow, having served until 2015 as the Center's president for its first quarter century. Center of the American Experiment, is 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 Marriage Opportunity Council.  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. 

May 2015

Mitch Pearlstein's Archive

Mar 8, 2013
It’s more than fair and accurate to say educators, politicians and others on the left have had much more to do in conceiving educational policy and running inner-city schools than have educators, politicians and others of the right over the last two generations and more. And how have low-income and minority boys and girls fared over this lengthy and pivotal period? The only fair and accurate answer is terribly.
Mar 1, 2013
As many fans and have been mentioning in amazement all week, the Minnesota Twins open their 2013 season exactly a month from today, on April 1, down just a couple of frequently very windy blocks from where I work in downtown Minneapolis. I mention this not in order to make a too-obvious comment about how Target Field may well be colder than Omaha that day, but rather to sneakily note, as modestly as possible, that Scott Diamond and I both pitched for the very same chilled champagne of a school, Binghamton University in upstate New York.
Feb 12, 2013
I have no good idea how big a controversy it really is, but I just watched two talking heads on television discuss whether Dr. Benjamin Carson’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington last week were too political. Although not a household name or celebrity of that sort, Dr. Carson is reasonably well-known in conservative circles as a brilliant, right-side-of-the-aisle pediatric neurosurgeon who worked his way up – all the way up – from a Detroit ghetto. Interestingly, both TV guys – Cal Thomas on the right and Alan Combs on the left – agreed that Carson’s comments were indeed overly political for the occasion, what with the nonpartisan ethos of the annual program. It’s a critique which I reluctantly share.
Jan 31, 2013
We spend a lot of time talking and debating about marriage, but not so much reflecting on what we need to do to support and encourage marriage and family life. Mitch Pearlstein, founder and president of the Center of the American Experiment, is the author of From Family Collapse to America’s Decline: The Educational, Economic, and Social Costs of Family Fragmentation. He talks about the state of the American family and what can be done to help it with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez.
Jan 13, 2013
How is it “conservative” to spend vast amounts of taxpayer money on a strategy without asking whether it is providing taxpayers with the best public safety return on their investment?
Dec 20, 2012
“In simplest and starkest terms, the United States has one of the highest out-of-wedlock birth rates in the world. We also have one of the highest divorce rates in the world. These stubborn patterns and trends are the opposite of good news for any group, but they’re particularly bad news for boys and girls, as they diminish their well-being now and undercut their future.
Dec 7, 2012
In "A promising focus on achievement gap" (Dec. 4) the Star Tribune Editorial Board was prudent in expressing both hope and caution regarding "Generation Next," the Twin Cities' newest and most encompassing attempt to narrow achievement gaps between white and nonwhite K-12 students. Led by a remarkable collection of business, foundation, educational and political leaders, Generation Next has been inspired by a similarly comprehensive approach in Cincinnati known as "Strive."
Nov 26, 2012
Sometimes you just instinctively (and accurately) know something, as was the case the other day when I saw an Internet headline about how a number of victims of super storm Sandy had been victimized again. “NYC Sandy Victims looted over Thanksgiving,” the piece announced.
Nov 20, 2012
One of the dramatic social developments of our time—family breakdown, now known by the term of art family fragmentation—is seldom touched on by our top politicians. Yet with the United States probably leading the industrial world in this amalgam of out-of-wedlock births, divorces, and short-lived cohabiting relationships, it would be valuable for our leaders to find a way around the political pitfalls that dissuade them from addressing a consequential subject.
Nov 19, 2012
Mitch Pearlstein discusses helping kids recover from broken families on the Heartland Institute Daily Podcast featuring Mitch