Mitch Pearlstein is Founder Emeritus of Center of the American Experiment, having served until 2015 as president for the Center’s first quarter century.

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 forThe Sun-Bulletin, again in Binghamton; and a columnist for CityBusiness and Twin Cities Business Monthly.


  • Ph.D University of Minnesota 1980, Education Administration
  • B.A. Binghamton University 1970, Political Science


  • 1990-Present, Center of the American Experiment
  • 1992-1994, Minneapolis St Paul City Business – Columnist
  • 1995-1999, Twin Cities Business Monthly – Columnist
  • 1987-1990, U.S. Department of Education
  • 1983-1987, St. Paul Pioneer Press – Editorial writer and columnist
  • 1983-1983, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs – Fellow
  • 1981-1982, Gov. Albert H. Quie of Minnesota
  • 1977-1980, University of Minnesota, Office of Equal Opportunity
  • 1974-1977, University of Minnesota – Presidents Office
  • 1971-1974, Binghamton University – Director of Public Information
  • 1971-1972, The Sun-Bulletin – Reporter

Honors and Additional Activities:

  • 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
  • President of OAK (Opportunity for All Kids)
  • Director of Minneapolis-based MicroGrants
  • Member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs
  • Member of the Advisory Committee for the Master’s Program in Public Policy at the University of St. Thomas
  • Member of the Marriage Opportunity Council
  • 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
  • Director of the General John Vessey, Jr. Leadership Academy
  • Member of the Aspen Institute’s Domestic Strategy Group
  • Citizens League Higher Education Study Committee
  • Steering Committee of Minnesotans for Major League Baseball
  • Founder of the Washington-based Center for New Black Leadership

Notable Books and Publications:

  • Broken Bonds: What Family Fragmentation Means for America’s Future (2014)
  • 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)
  • Editor of Certain Truths: Essays about Our Families, Children and Culture from American Experiment’s First Five Years (1995)