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New state laws on tenure, terrorism still contentious
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NASHVILLE (AP) — A batch of new laws take effect in Tennessee today, including a measure that toughens tenure requirements for teachers and another that is billed as fighting terrorism but that Muslim residents worry has targeted them for unfounded suspicion.The tenure law, another bill that took away teachers’ collective bargaining rights, and anti-terrorist legislation were the most contentious of roughly 500 bills that passed the Legislature in this year’s session. Opponents showed up at the Capitol to protest the proposals throughout the legislative process.The tenure law requires a teacher to be on the job five years instead of three to get tenure and creates a way for job security to be revoked for poor teaching performance.Critics of the law say the evaluation system to be used is suspect and it hasn’t been determined how best to rate educators whose subjects aren’t covered by the state’s value-added test scoring program.The Tennessee Board of Education approved the evaluation model last month. State education officials, as well as Gov.