Skip to content

Mitch Pearlstein

- Hide Bio

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 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

Oct 9, 2012
This new American Experiment symposium grows out of a book of mine published just about a year ago, From Family Collapse to America’s Decline: The Educational, Economic, and Social Costs of Family Fragmentation, which examined many of the problems and shortcomings resulting from very high rates of nonmarital births, very high rates of divorce, and routinely short-lived cohabiting relationships. One of the book’s central themes is how such family churning—more specifically, the extent to which it hurts great numbers of children—is leading, and can only lead, to stunted mobility and deeper class divisions in a nation that has never viewed itself in such splintered ways.
Sep 27, 2012
Mitch Pearlstein discusses his book, From Family Collapse to America's Decline, on The Judith Regan Show on Sirius Radio.
Sep 23, 2012
Our strongest students don't measure up in science, technology, engineering and math. Let's create a fertile environment.
Sep 8, 2012
New research out of Harvard and the Brookings Institution further spotlights the unhelpful fact that influential Twin Cities leaders are trying to improve education for African-American and other children of color with a powerful arm tied behind their back, needlessly so. Just last month, political scientists Matthew Chingos of the Washington-based Brookings Institution and Paul Peterson of Harvard's Kennedy School released a study that persuasively shows that college enrollments for low-income African-American students who years earlier had won vouchers to attend private elementary schools were 24 percent higher than a socioeconomically-identical group of students who had not won them.
Aug 29, 2012
I’ve been remiss in not acknowledging the death last month of William Raspberry, a Washington Post-based, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist whose syndicated voice was essential for decades—decisively on matters of race, certainly, but much more than that too. It’s impossible for me to think of Bill, who died at 76, without the words “measure” and “gentleman” jumping to mind. An African American native of Jim Crow Mississippi, he once wrote that his small town had two of everything: one for whites and one for blacks.
Aug 1, 2012
The current flap over what Mitt Romney said or meant about cultural differences having something to do with economic disparities between Israel and its nearest neighbor accentuates
Jul 10, 2012
Here’s a question about race and intergroup relations which might sound too glib but which is really quite serious. What route is more likely to increase respect and perhaps even affection between and among wide varieties of people?
Jun 14, 2012
Save for a giant but unsurprising omission (see below), the Star Tribune this past Sunday (June 10), ran an informative front page feature by reporter Kim Ode about how increasing numbers of middle class Americans, very much including Minnesotans, have been shunning marriage until they’re ready, or at least readier, financially and in other ways.
Jun 5, 2012
On behalf of my American Experiment colleagues, great thanks to upwards of 1,300 guests who attended our 2012 Annual Dinner, keynoted by Charles Krauthammer, on May 22, at the Minneapolis Hilton.
May 10, 2012
First reactions to President Obama’s newly announced approval of same-sex marriage bespeak shaky mirror imaging. While folks on the right are routinely critical of its very core, they’re rejoicing in what they see as its politics.