CLAY COUNTY EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
1968 Statewide Teacher Walkout "You Are Not Alone"
In 1968, all across the state of Florida teachers gathered in movie theaters to view this video of Phil Constans, Executive Director of the Florida Education Association (FEA).
Because conditions in Florida’s public schools had become so dire due to underfunding by the Legislature, in 1968 teachers conducted the first state-wide teacher walk-out in the country.
This action was taken after several years of attempts to improve teaching and learning conditions through lobbying and working with the Legislature.
FEA organized the state-wide teacher walk-out, which consisted of teachers resigning in mass from their jobs.
35,000 of the state’s 50,000 teachers walked out of their classrooms – some for days, some for months. Some eventually returned while others never got their jobs back.
As a result, conditions improved:
- Teachers were successful getting collective bargaining enacted into law and the right to collectively bargain in the state constitution.
- Funding for public education went from 22nd to 13th in the country.
- The FEFP was developed to equalize funding among Florida’s counties.
- Governor Claude Kirk who had vetoed the state budget that would have provided additional funding for public schools served only 1 term.
There are many examples that demonstrate when people come together for the same cause they can make a difference. The 1968 statewide teacher walk-out is one example. These teachers paved the way for the rights we have now, and we have built everything we have on the work they did in their fight to improve public education.