Unruly Teachers: Florida's Political Culture During the 1968 Florida Teachers' Strike
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On February 19, 1968 over 27,000 teachers in Florida resigned from their positions as educators. In doing so, these teachers created the country’s first and only statewide teachers’ strike. The teachers who went on strike did so to improve both a failing educational system, and their own professional standing. During the 1950s and early 1960s, Florida’s political landscape was dominated by a group of conservative rural legislators known as the Pork Chop Gang. The policies of the Pork Chop Gang deteriorated Florida’s educational system, but as Florida’s population increased during the early 1960s demands for political and educational reform permeated the state. These demands created a shift in political culture that placed education at the forefront of politics in Florida. This thesis examines how the shift in political culture in Florida influenced the development of teacher militancy that culminated with the 1968 statewide strike.