Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that President Obama has “chosen [the] side” of the striking Chicago teachers union, even though the union has “made plain that their interests conflict with those of our children.”

“President Obama has chosen his side in this fight, sending his Vice President last year to assure the nation’s largest teachers union that ‘you should have no doubt about my affection for you and the President’s commitment to you,’” Romney said in a statement. “I choose to side with the parents and students depending on public schools to give them the skills to succeed, and my plan for education reform will do exactly that.”

The union decided to strike for the first time in 25 years due to anger over pay raise negotiations, proposed teacher performance evaluations, and teacher layoffs.

“I am disappointed that we have come to this point given that all the other parties acknowledged how close we are, because this is is a strike of choice,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as Obama’s White House chief of staff before running for mayor.

Romney took Emanuel’s argument one step further.

“I am disappointed by the decision of the Chicago Teachers Union to turn its back on not only a city negotiating in good faith but also the hundreds of thousands of children relying on the city’s public schools to provide them a safe place to receive a strong education,” the presidential candidate said. “Teachers unions have too often made plain that their interests conflict with those of our children, and today we are seeing one of the clearest examples yet.”