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Teacher Dismissal in Kentucky Spotlight

Kentucky may be the latest state to step into the murky pool of teacher-dismissal reform, thanks to a report last weekend from the Lexington Herald Leader.

The newspaper found through an examination of public records that many teachers who are recommended for firing or suspension in the state end up having those decisions reversed during their due process hearings—or are given a suspension or fine instead. 

As we've reported here at Education Week, the details of each state's due process rules are enormously complicated and vary from state to state.

In Kentucky, teachers have a right to a three-person tribunal not unlike those in California (which have been one of the targets of the Vergara v. California lawsuit). And as in New York, those tribunals tend to issue lesser punishments than what the district originally pursued.

Predictably, this has led to a back and forth among interested parties. Kentucky school administrators support proposals to appoint just one hearing officer, but the unions contend that the current system is fairer to teachers.

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