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Judge hears challenge to Florida teacher law

Teacher Salaries
Posted at 6:13 PM, Jan 16, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-16 18:13:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP)-- A judge says he'll rule later after hearing a challenge to Florida's new law requiring a merit pay system for teachers and ending tenure for new hires.

Lawyers for the Florida Education Association and Department of Education argued for two hours Wednesday before Circuit Judge John Cooper in Tallahassee.

Cooper said he wasn't sure when he will rule. His 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.