Florida Memory is administered by the Florida Department of State, Division of Library and Information Services, Bureau of Archives and Records Management. The digitized records on Florida Memory come from the collections of the State Archives of Florida and the special collections of the State Library of Florida.
State Archives of Florida
FEA Executive Secretary Phil Constans and others offering encouragement to teachers during "Crisis Sunday".
Manuscript Collection, M86-11, Box 48, FF3
The speech by FEA Executive Secretary Phil Constans offering encouragement to teachers during the conflict was captured by the film entitled "You Are Not Alone".
L-R: unidentified, June Pittenger, Phil Constans, former FEA president George Dabbs, unidentified, possibly current FEA president Dexter Hagman, possibly St. Petersburg Jr. College teacher Dr. Johnnie Ruth Clarke, unidentified.
In February 1968 the state teachers' union, the Florida Education Association (FEA), staged the first statewide teachers strike in the country when half of the state's teacher workforce went on strike for better wages and increased education funds. The strike occurred in response to Governor Claude Kirk's refusal to meet FEA demands on salary and school budget increases during the 1967 legislative session. Kirk's subsequent budget line item veto of a $150 million education appropriation spurred the FEA into action. Backed by the National Education Association, the FEA began organizing that summer to focus more attention on education. Their efforts intensified throughout the fall of 1967. In January 1968 the governor called a special session of the legislature to address the education crisis. The Senate drafted a bill that met FEA demands, but the House scaled down the proposal and a joint committee passed a bill considered unacceptable to teachers. In response, 35,000 Florida public school teachers and administrators walked out of their classrooms beginning on February 19, 1968. Most of the schools remained open, however, and Florida Commissioner of Education Floyd T. Christian used substitute teachers to staff the schools. On March 8 the FEA and the State Board of Education came to agreement, which included $10.2 million in education spending. The FEA ended the strike the next day and teachers returned to work, though some had to negotiate reinstatement with their districts. No striking language was added to the Florida constitution in 1968.
"CRISIS SUNDAY - Teachers spent day at their schools to explain situation to parents. Attendance, reflecting public interest, was poor, but those who came were appalled at school conditions."--How Florida Slept: Background on the Developing Florida School Crisis. Series 1186-11. FEA Papers. Carton 40. File Folder 3.
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Subject - Corporate
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FEA Executive Secretary Phil Constans and others offering encouragement to teachers during "Crisis Sunday". 1967. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. <https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/328675>, accessed 9 December 2021.
FEA Executive Secretary Phil Constans and others offering encouragement to teachers during "Crisis Sunday". 1967. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. Accessed 9 Dec. 2021.<https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/328675>.