Kansas legislators advance bill to restore teacher tenure

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A bipartisan group of Kansas lawmakers is pushing to restore job protections for public school teachers that conservative legislators previously stripped from them.

The House gave first-round approval Wednesday to a bill that would guarantee tenure for thousands of teacher statewide. The 72-48 vote advances the measure to another, final vote Thursday.

The bill would require school districts that do not want to renew a three-year teacher's contract to allow the teacher to have the matter decided by an independent hearing officer.

Teachers statewide had such a right before conservative Republicans enacted a 2014 law leaving the issue to local school boards and most decided against such reviews.

GOP conservatives argued that the change made firing bad teachers easier. But the bill's supporters said Kansas needs to respect teachers.