Republican Gov. John Kasich gave some interesting musings about teachers on Wednesday that may cause supporters to rethink his branding as the compassionate conservative of the bunch.
“If I were, not president, but if I were king in America, I would abolish all teachers lounges where they sit together and worry about ‘woe is us,'” he said.
The comments took place in New Hampshire at a Republican education summit where other presidential contenders, including former Gov. Jeb Bush and Gov. Scott Walker, are also slated to speak.
The Ohio governor has an acrimonious relationship with teachers unions in the state. During his 2010 gubernatorial run, he threatened to “break the back” of unions and sent a bill forward that aimed to strip their collective-bargaining rights and ratchet up teacher evaluations. It failed at the ballot.
Still, just a few days ago, he seemed to have the support of a prominent Ohio union leader.
“If we’re going to have a Republican as president, I’d rather it be John Kasich,” Melissa Cropper, Ohio Federation of Teachers president, told the Columbus Dispatch. She was quick to point out she still believed that Hillary Clinton has the better vision for education.
Perhaps the union president will rethink her endorsement after Kasich’s latest swing at teachers.
Kasich’s comments also come at a time when there is a nationwide teacher shortage. California, Oklahoma, and Kentucky, among others, have serious shortages, according to NPR.
The dearth of teachers available is due to a number of factors, but NPR also points to the lack of respect for the teaching profession in the US. Teachers are often scapegoated by politicians and the media, Bill McDiarmid, the dean of the University of North Carolina School of Education, told NPR.
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