"We have built a system… that cares more about the feelings of adults than the future of children," he said in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. "Tell me where else is there a profession with no reward for excellence and no penalty for failure?"
While politicians on both side of the aisle are eager to reform education and teacher compensation, Republican governors are increasingly taking on teacher contracts with an eye on slashing their dwindling state budgets. Republican governors in Nevada, Indiana and Florida are all going after teacher labor rules.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan reiterated the concerns of many Republican governors this week when he told teachers unions and educators "clearly, the status quo isn't working for children."
"Unions and administrators have been battling each other for decades and we have far too little to show for it. It hasn't been good for the adults and it certainly hasn't been good for children," Duncan said at a labor-management collaboration conference in Denver on Tuesday.
Duncan also expressed concern about the proposal in Wisconsin to limit teachers' bargaining rights and said he would call Walker on Thursday to discuss this issue.
President Obama, who has suggested in the past that teachers unions are part of the problem, has also questioned Walker's plan, saying it seemed like "as assault on unions."
"I think it's very important for us to understand that public employees, they're our neighbors, they're our friends… they make a lot of sacrifices, and make a big contribution, and I think it's important not to vilify them, or to suggest that somehow all these budget problems are due to public employees," Obama said in an interview with TMJ4-TV in Milwaukee.