John Kasich has had a difficult time differentiating himself from the Republican field. Not only are there other, more recognizable moderates, but John Kasich is basically the kind of entity that ghosts in and out of things like debates. He never says anything really right and he never says anything really wrong. In a sense, he’s like the state of Ohio: it’s there. You’ll visit it if you have to drive through it, but you wouldn’t go out of your way.
Yesterday, though, at a New Hampshire “Education Summit” for “The 74” education advocacy group, Kasich came up with a novel and unconventional idea to address problems with education in this country. While other candidates like Bush, Jindal, Christie and Fiorina explained their comprehensive plans to address the need for education reform, John Kasich wants to abolish the teachers lounge – because we can’t have people fraternizing on work time.
While some Republicans have called for abolishing the federal Education Department, Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday set his sights on a smaller target: the teachers’lounge.
At an education forum here featuring several GOP presidential contenders, Kasich offered many kind words for teachers and teachers unions, but he also chastised their efforts to block changes in some parts of his state. And they spend too much time scaring teachers about their jobs.
“There’s a constant negative … They’re going to take your benefits. They’re going to take your pay,” Kasich told former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, whose advocacy news site “The 74 million” hosted the forum along with the American Federation for Children…
“If I were, not president, if I were king in America, I would abolish all teachers’ lounges where they sit together and worry about ‘woe is us’,” Kasich told Brown.
Frankly, if I were king in America, I’d demand that our teachers’ lounges have an endless supply of wine and chocolate, maybe massage tables. Being a teacher is a tough job: you’re an instructor, a caretaker and a substitute parent. And sure, while teachers, like any group of colleagues, will gather togethter to discuss what sucks about what they do. It doesn’t seem like a suuuuuuuper effective way to bust a union, however. After all, you can’t stop teachers from meeting in hallways, after work in restaurants or over a bottle of teacher-affordable alcohol in their off hours.
Kasich does seem to want to eliminate something though, since not eliminating anything puts him far out of line with his peers, most of whom suggest that the primary target for elimination actually be the Department of Education itself. Kasich chastised his fellow conference-goers for wanting to take out an entire governmental authority, even though Kasich himself wanted to cut off the DOE back when he was chair of the House Budget Committee. And unfortunately for Kasich, the Internet is forever:
So what happened? Kasich says his views on certain issues have “evolved,” the standard answer most candidates give when faced with a flip-flop. But it might have more to do with his support of Teachers Unions in his home state, something he can’t shake. Even yesterday, as he polished up his answer to the New Hampshire forum, the Ohio Teachers Union was singing Kasich’s praises, with one member of the Ohio Federation of Teachers even going so far as to say that if we had to have a Republican president, she’d prefer it be John Kasich.
He must think taking away a teacher lunchroom is a decent compromise position. Or something.