Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A brief appearance in the Black Panther documentary

1969 press conference: From left: Fred Hampton and Bobby Rush (Black Panthers); Cha Cha Jiminez (Young Lords Organization); Mike Klonsky (SDS)
I have a small part in Stanley Nelson's new documentary "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution." I am also doing post-performance Q&As at several of the showings.
Nelson goes on to chronicle many of the Black Panthers’ achievements, such as their trailblazing breakfast program for children, and the indisputable effect of the party to inspire pride in black Americans, and respect from the radical Left. As Mike Klonsky of the Students for a Democratic Society remarks, the Black Panthers were viewed as “the vanguard of the revolution.” -- Film Journal International 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Spoke in this class of undergrads at Kenyon College, Monday evening. They are reading Jonathan Kozol's "Savage Inequalities". After class,  students and their great prof, Peter Rutkoff, posed for this group pic to send to Jonathan as a birthday greeting.


Friday, March 28, 2014


Rag Radio: Fighting for Public Education with Julian Vasquez Heilig & Mike Klonsky (February 28, 2014)

Julian Vasquez Heilig and Mike Klonsky join Thorne Dreyer in discussing our endangered public education system, the nature and genesis of the flawed "educational reform" movement, and ideas about how public schools can be improved and can be saved from privatization.

Vasquez Heilig hosted the Network for Public Education's first National Conference, held March 1- 2, 2014, on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. Mike Klonsky moderated a panel on "Movement Building" at the gathering of leading public education activists. The group was founded by noted author and educational policy analyst Diane Ravitch in 2013, and has become a prominent voice in the education reform debate.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

On Rag Radio in Austin, TX -- Aug. 20, 2013

RAG RADIO / Thorne Dreyer : Chicago’s Mike Klonsky Fights for Public Education, ‘Small Schools’

Chicago education activist Mike Klonsky in the studios of KOOP Radio, Austin, Texas, Friday, August 20, 2013. Photo by Roger Baker / The Rag Blog.

Rag Radio podcast:
Former SDS leader Mike Klonsky is fighter
for ‘Small Schools’ and democratic education

A veteran of the Civil Rights Movement and the struggle against the War in Vietnam, Mike has been involved in community and labor organizing as well as the fight for democratic education.

By Rag Radio | The Rag Blog | September 4, 2013
Former SDS leader Mike Klonsky, now a Chicago-based public education activist and advocate for “Small Schools,” joined us on Rag Radio, Friday, August 30, 2013.

Rag Radio is a weekly syndicated radio program produced and hosted by long-time alternative journalist Thorne Dreyer, and recorded at the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM, a cooperatively-run all-volunteer community radio station in Austin, Texas.
A veteran of the Civil Rights Movement and the struggle against the War in Vietnam, Klonsky was a leader in Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), serving as SDS National Secretary in 1968, and has been involved in community and labor organizing as well as the fight for democratic education. A “red diaper baby,” his father was a life-long activist and a veteran of the Spanish Civil War.
Mike Klonsky teaches in the College of Education at DePaul University. One of the founders of the Small Schools Workshop, Mike serves as its national director. He also coaches basketball at a Chicago high school. Klonsky is the author of Small Schools: The Numbers Tell a Story (University of Illinois Small Schools Workshop) and co-author, along with Bill Ayers and Gabe Lyon, of A Simple Justice: The Challenge for Teachers in Small Schools (Teachers College Press).
Mike Klonsky on Rag Radio. Photo by Roger Baker / The Rag Blog.
Mike served as a member of the National Advisory Council on Youth Violence and is past president of the editorial board of Catalyst, Chicago’s school-reform journal. He has also written extensively on the history and progress of Chicago’s dynamic struggles to save and transform public schools. His SmallTalk Blog is read by thousands of educators and activists.
Read Mike Klonsky’s August 27, 2013, article, “Drive-By Teachers and the Great Charter School Scam,” on The Rag Blog.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

All Male Youth Summit, Calumet City, IL

On Monday, March 25, 2013 we had over 500 male students from third through eighth grade and well over 20 presenters from various professions attend this phenomenal event.
Distinguished Presenters

Dr. Michael Klonsky, DePaul University Professor & Educational Consultant
Marc Augustave, Assistant Corporate Counsel
Don Murphy, American Family Insurance
Honorable Judge Orville E. Hambright,Jr., Circuit Court
Honorable Judge William Boyd, Circuit Court
Dr. James Cunneen, Retired Superintendent & Educational Consultant
Chief Mark Davis, Chief of Police Calumet Park, IL &Retired Chicago Police Commander 32 years
Gerald Jones, Educator at Rich Township District 227 & Chairman and Coordinator of the Guide Right Program for Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Evergreen Park, Illinois
Percy Colvin, Entrepreneur Colvin Printing and Graphics
Honorable State Representative William Davis, 29th District
Frank Dixon, CTA and Minister, New Evangelical Bible Church
Dr. Ron Garner, Architect
Terrence Lyles, Insurance Consultant for American Family
Khomeini Khan, AXA Equitable Financial
Anthony Brown, AXA Equitable Financial
Pastor Dr. Michael Reynolds, New Life Celebration
Michael Rogers, Architect for McDonald’s Corporation
Oscar Scott, College Recruiter
Michael Steele, Educational Administration
Honorable State Representative Thaddeus Jones, 27th District
Dr. Johnny Thomas, Superintendent District 155 Crystal Lake, IL
Dr. Creg Williams, Superintendent District 215 Calumet City, IL
John Ross, Lieutenant for Chicago Fire Department
Elmer Winters, Staff Sergeant for U.S. Army
Joseph Jemison Jr., Comedian and Actor
Richard Wills, Cook County Probation Officer

Friday, September 21, 2012

WTTW, Chicago Tonight, September 10, 2012

Springfield passed ambitious education reform last year, intending to transform the system and make it harder for unions to strike. One year later, what’s changed? How did Chicago end up with a historic strike on its hands?

Monday, April 30, 2012

From pineapples to small schools, alum Mike Klonsky's work is no small talk

From UIC Alumni Magazine, UIC College of Education

April 30, 2012

Professor Michael Klonsky teaches in the College of Education at DePaul University in Chicago. He also serves as the national director of the Small Schools Workshop, and on the national steering committee of Save Our Schools, a national movement dedicated to supporting public schools. Klonsky has blogged, spoken and written extensively on school reform issues with a focus on urban school restructuring. Klonsky received his MA in Education Studies in 1992 and his PhD in Curriculum & Instruction from UIC in 1996. He talks with Communications Director Eva Moon.

Can you talk about how your UIC education laid the groundwork for your future work?

The college, under both of our deans, Larry Braskamp and then Vicki Chou, was a wonderful place to learn and develop as an educator. My personal interaction with some of the leading lights in the curriculum field exposed me to a broad range of theoretical and practical approaches to public education. It was Dr. [William] Schubert who first and most creatively raised these three fundamental questions to his graduate students: "What knowledge is most worthwhile? Why is it worthwhile? And how is it acquired or created?"

Can you tell me how you got your start on the small schools road?

The early school reform movement engaged hundreds of mostly young teachers in transformation efforts within their own schools. Many began approaching those of us within the COE who had been influenced by educators like Deborah Meier and Michelle Fine, who were small schools pioneers in New York and Philadelphia. Among the most influential scholars and prolific writers on small and alternative schools was the late, Mary Anne Raywid who became a mentor to me.

In 1991, Professors Bill Ayers and the late Bruce McPherson created the Small Schools Workshop, and they invited me to become involved in this project that was focused on the ideas of democratic education, personalization, reflective teaching practices, and professional community. My dissertation documented our collaborative work with hundreds of Chicago Public School teachers and principals engaged in transforming large, traditional high schools into smaller learning communities.

What is the current state of the small schools movement?

Susan Klonsky [his wife] and I wrote a book in 2007, Small Schools: Public School Reform Meets the Ownership Society, whose title pretty well sums up the status of the current small-schools movement and the co-opting of the language of school reform by business-type school reformers. While there are still dozens of wonderful, teacher-led, public small schools around, most have been swallowed up in the drive toward privatization and over-emphasis on standardization and testing.

Tell me about your blog. How widely is it read? What is the impact of the issues you raise and the subsequent discussion?

I have been blogging for nearly a decade on my SmallTalk blog, and am also active on Twitter. My blog gets about 30,000 hits a month and I have close to 3,000 followers on Twitter – not nearly as many as Lady Gaga's 7 million, but enough to make it worthwhile for me. I usually blog early in the morning, while I am reading through the daily media. I write about things that catch my attention, like the recent mass turnover of Philadelphia's public schools to private management groups, or the crazy standardized test questions in New York around Daniel Pinkwater's children's story, The Hare and the Pineapple. Bloggers and tweeters played a big role in that story going viral, and in forcing some inane test questions to be pulled from the tests.

As you reflect on your time at UIC, what lasting impressions do you have?

I still look back on my days in the College of Ed with great fondness. The COE faculty instilled within me a love of learning and of teaching that I still embrace. Even though I'm semi-retired, I still enjoy my life as an educator, now teaching graduate students Philosophy and Sociology of Education at DePaul.