Want to meet the leaders of the growing movement in defense of public education? You might be surprised where to look. While the corporate media focuses on Washington, D.C., and President Obama’s Race to the Top policies, or on Hollywood and its controversial documentary Waiting for Superman, you can find America’s true grassroots education reformers in the post-industrial heartland of Chicago, Illinois. And as with any great movement, mothers are at the forefront.

In October 2010, a group of primarily Latina mothers from Whittier Elementary School on the near west side of Chicago staged a sit-in at the school to stop the Chicago Public School system from tearing down the school’s field house to become a soccer field for a neighboring private school. After forty-three days of protest that garnered national media attention, the school system agreed to the activists’ demands, pledging...

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