Lawmakers moved Thursday to qualify California for federal education dollars by eliminating a law that prohibits the state from using student test scores to evaluate teachers.

State Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) amended an existing bill in the regular session to strike a clause in a 2006 law he wrote that bars state use of testing data to determine educator pay or promotion.

Obama administration officials have said that states applying for $4.35 billion in education funding cannot have any "firewalls" between student achievement data and teachers.

At a hearing Wednesday in Sacramento, Simitian said the amendment has been misinterpreted, but that he wanted to make sure California could qualify for the funding.

The regular session ends Sept. 11 and Simitian introduced an identical bill to a special session on education convened by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

State Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), chairwoman of the Education Committee, also submitted a bill for the special session that struck the same prohibition.

Teachers unions officials have resisted using test scores to evaluate teachers and opposed amending the 2006 law.

-- Jason Song

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