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Revamped Teacher-Dismissal Bill Introduced In Calif.

Third time's a charm? That seems to be what California administrators are thinking, in putting their weight behind a new bill to revamp teacher dismissal in the Golden State.

This is the third year running that lawmakers have taken steps to address dismissal for misconduct in California. The state's teachers' unions helped scratch a 2012 proposal, contending it vested too much power in school boards. And last year, a broader union-backed measure that administrators argued made the lengthy dismissal process even more cumbersome was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The new bill, SB 843, attempts to thread the needle between those two prior efforts. As John Fensterwald at EdSource explains, this bill is focused only on misconduct cases, not those of poor performance. Among other things, the bill would eliminate the four-year limit on evidence that can be presented at dismissal hearings. It would also put the decision in the hands of an administrative law judge, rather than a three-person panel.  (A three-person panel would still hear cases of dismissal for performance.) And it would allow charges to be filed and amended more flexibly.

There's added pressure these days to address dismissal because of a pending ballot initiative that tackles some of the same issues. 

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