Members of the Chicago Teachers Union distribute strike signage at the Chicago Teachers Union strike headquarters on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 in Chicago. The union has vowed to strike on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, should it fail to reach an agreement over teachers' contracts with Chicago Public Schools by that date. (AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong)
CHICAGO (AP) - Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney says Chicago teachers are turning their backs on thousands of students and President Barack Obama is siding with the striking teachers.
Romney, in a statement released Monday hours before he was set to land in Chicago for fundraisers, says he is disappointed by the Chicago teachers' decision to walk out of negotiations. Romney says he sides with parents and students over unionized teachers.
Thousands of teachers walked off the job in Chicago's first schools strike in 25 years. The walkout by 26,000 teachers and support staff in the nation's third-largest school district affects almost 400,000 students.
Romney has been critical of public employee unions, including teachers. Romney says union interests run counter to students' education.