Ride or Get Rode On: Battling for the Soul of Public Education


  • Kay Fumiko Fujiyoshi


In August of 2012, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) went on strike for the first time in 25 years and stood up against Rahm Emmanuel and his elected school board.  This article briefly outlines the neoliberal context of Chicago and incorporates the stories of Xian Barrett, a teacher-activist and Sarah Jane Rhee, a movement documentarian and parent-activist to share their perspectives from the frontlines.  Their experiences and stories best tell the story of the context and conditions of Chicago schools that forced 26,000 teachers to stand up for their rights as educators.  Lastly, I offer some reflection points to think about the engagement of morality and humanity in the movement.

Author Biography

Kay Fumiko Fujiyoshi

Kay Fujiyoshi holds a PhD in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  As a former Chicago Public School student and teacher, her research and pedagogy seeks to build awareness of systemic injustices that violate humanity while encouraging critical and creative ways of conceptualizing innovative practices for teaching and learning.  She currently works with the Chicago Grassroots Curriculum Taskforce (CGCT) on revolutionizing traditional models of classroom learning by building local and relevant curriculum based on the lived experience of Chicago community members.