Governor John Kasich is currently considered a plausible “moderate” Republican Presidential candidate if the GOP goes to a brokered convention. In fact, he has said that, “It’s going to be so much fun. Kids will spend less time focusing on Bieber and Kardashian, and more time focusing on how we elect presidents.”  Despite his use of such groovy lingo, Republican voters need not fear, because Kasich is an orthodox Republican on most issues, particularly education. Former Presidential candidate Marco Rubio summed up the GOP stance on education in a nutshell: “We need more welders and less philosophers.” In this spirit, Ted Cruz has called for eliminating the Department of Education. Donald Trump (who has explained, “I’m very highly educated. I know words, I have the best words”) has suggested a more moderate policy: we simply gut the budget of the Department of Education. Kasich is in line with these anti-education pronouncements. He famously said,

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.”

No doubt, Governor Kasich is right. Sure, there are naysayers, like dedicated teacher (and Christian blogger) Amy Norman, who challenged the assumption that real teachers have the time to sit around anywhere during their frantic workdays. But obviously the problem with US education is all the whiney, lazy, selfish teachers…

…like Megan Silberberger, a Washington state teacher who stopped a shooter in her school cafeteria. (She later said, “I reacted exactly like all my colleagues would in this type of event. I am a schoolteacher, and like all teachers, I am committed to the safety and well being of my students”).

…like Brady Olson, a social studies teacher who tackled and disarmed a teen shooter at his school. (As part of his official statement on the event, he said, “As always, students come first, and today was no different.”)

…like teacher David Benke and Assistant Principal Becky Brown: Benke tackled the Littleton Colorado school shooter, and Brown pulled the gun from the shooter’s hands while he and Benke wrestled for control of it. (When asked why she ran toward the sound of gunshots, Brown commented, “Those kids are my kids, and it’s important, and my teachers, we’re like family.”)

…like Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis, the first-grade teacher who hid all of her students during the Sandy Hook shooting, and later started a charity to help teach students about kindness.

…like Dave Sanders, a computer and business teacher, who was shot to death while leading students to safety during the Columbine shooting (last words: “tell my girls I love ’em”).

…like Liviu Librescu, a frail, 76-year-old professor during the Virginia tech shootings, who died while using his body to block the door of his classroom to buy his students enough time to flee out the windows.

…and of course let’s not forget Vicki Soto, an elementary school teacher who, during the Newtown shooting, hid her students, lied to the shooter about their whereabouts, then used her own body to shield them, before being shot dead.

Governor Kasich, I’m so upset about “whiney” teachers like Soto, Librescu, and Sanders that I tear up just writing about them. Yes, Governor Kasich, let’s recognize that teachers are the problem. The real hero here is you, for making it easier for people to carry concealed weapons and for explaining to us that “there were already a bunch of laws” before Columbine, and the best way to deal with school shootings is to give parents more choice about where they send their children to school. Thank God there are moderates like you still in the GOP field!

Caricature of John Kasich by DonkeyHotey, used under Creative Commons Generic 2.0 License, from Flickr

About The Author

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Bryan W. Van Norden is a leading expert on Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. He is the author, editor, or translator of nine books on Chinese and comparative philosophy, including Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy (2011), Readings in Later Chinese Philosophy: Han to the 20th Century (2014, with Justin Tiwald), Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy (2nd ed., 2005, with P.J. Ivanhoe), and most recently Taking Back Philosophy: A Multicultural Manifesto (2017). Van Norden lives in Singapore, where he is currently Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professor at Yale-NUS College. He is also Chair Professor in Philosophy in the School of Philosophy at Wuhan University (PRC) and James Monroe Taylor Chair in Philosophy at Vassar College (USA). A recipient of Fulbright, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Mellon fellowships, Van Norden has been honored as one of The Best 300 Professors in the US by The Princeton Review. His hobbies are poker (he has played in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas) and video games.