Judge holding hearing on Florida teacher law

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Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 9:32 am

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A judge is holding a hearing to decide on a union challenge to Florida's new law setting up a merit pay system for teachers and ending tenure for new hires.

Lawyers for the Florida Education Association and the state Department of Education are making their arguments Wednesday to Circuit Judge John Cooper in Tallahassee. Cooper's decision is expected to be appealed regardless of what he decides.

The union contends the law is unconstitutional because it substantially changes the way teachers are paid and evaluated without going through collective bargaining. The Florida Constitution guarantees public employees the right to collective bargaining.

The state denies that the law violates that right, arguing that teachers are still free to negotiate with employers over wages, hours and working conditions.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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