Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said that if he had his way, there would be no more teachers' lounges in schools across the country.
"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, oh woe is us," Kasich, who is running for the GOP nomination for president, said Wednesday, during an appearance at an education summit in New Hampshire.
His comments provoked a sharp response from Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who pointed out that teachers actually use lounges for activities like eating their lunch. The union has endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.
National Education Association Lily Eskelsen García also went after Kasich.
"In Ohio, John Kasich took resources out of public school classrooms to provide vouchers for private schools that don't provide opportunity to every child, slashed public school funding by half a billion dollars, and expanded unaccountable for-profit charter schools that misspent millions while producing some of the worst outcomes in the nation," she said. "Educators will absolutely discuss how they can overcome these obstacles to help their students, as well as hold elected leaders accountable."
Kasich also bemoaned teachers' unions, saying, "I'll tell you what the unions do unfortunately too much of the time. There’s a constant negative comment, 'They're going to take your benefits, they're going to take your pay.'"
According to HuffPost Pollster, Kasich currently stands in 10th place in the GOP primary.
This piece has been updated with comments from the NEA.