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How easy should it be to fire bad public school teachers? The question is being considered for the second time today in a California court.

Meanwhile, L.A. developer Rick Caruso is working on a new shopping mall in Carlsbad, just north of San Diego. Will it be voted down, and what impact has he had on the landscape in this city?

Then, an investigation into the increasingly common arbitration clauses that show up in all kinds of consumer contracts, employment contracts and even housing leases.

Turning to this weekend’s Oscars, KCRW’s Matt Holzman gives Madeleine his take on this year’s Foreign Language nominees.

And finally, in our regular Web news segment, Facebook’s new emojis. Like or no?

Image: Teachers’ union 2014 news conference on Vergara v. California. Photo by Neon Tommy.

L.A. Teacher Case Goes to Court Again 10 MIN, 51 SEC

How easy should it be to fire bad public school teachers? That’s what’s being reconsidered in an appeals court today in the landmark case Vergara v. California. In 2014, a judge sided with the students who brought the case. He found that the tenure system in California violates students civil rights, because the worst teachers are sent to the highest poverty schools, meaning those students get an unequal education. The state and two unions that joined the case appealed. Today, a court is hearing their arguments. If the decision is upheld, it would be a major blow to teachers unions in California and in the rest of the country.

John Rogers, UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education and Access

Rick Caruso's 'Main Street' Style 8 MIN, 41 SEC

L.A. developer Rick Caruso has spent three years and more than $10 million promoting a new luxury shopping mall in Carlsbad, north of San Diego. But local opposition has been fierce, forcing a special election. As of last night, the noes led by 186 votes, but there are still a few thousand mail-in and provisional ballots to be counted. Rick Caruso is the man behind The Grove and the Americana in Glendale. He's also set to revamp the downtown area of Pacific Palisades. Caruso is just one of several big developers to shape the way our city looks and works. But while L.A. is home to ultra-powerful developers, it's also home to an incredibly powerful group of NIMBYs. We examine the tension.

Dana Cuff, UCLA / cityLAB (@danacuff)

Read the Fine Print 9 MIN, 55 SEC

Say you want to sue your cell phone provider. You could file a lawsuit ... or could you? If you read the fine print of your contract, there's a good chance you've signed away your day in court. Many consumer contracts these days, from cellphones to hotel rooms to car repairs, say you must take complaints to an arbitrator instead of a judge. Arbitrators are private individuals who settle disputes. They aren't necessarily lawyers, and some arbitration firms aren't playing by the rules.

Karen Foshay, KCRW (@karenfoshay)

Oscars Foreign Films 8 MIN, 50 SEC

It looks like The Revenant, Spotlight and The Big Short are the favorites to win this year's Best Picture Oscar. But there are those who say that the Foreign Language category is where the real action is, cinematically speaking. KCRW's Matt Holzman is one of them. He talks to Madeleine about the five films up for the Foreign Language Oscar this year.

Matt Holzman, Producer, 'The Document' (@KCRW_Matt)

Web Roundup: New Emojis and More 10 MIN, 41 SEC

The debate continues to rage over whether Apple should unlock its phones for federal investigators. Meanwhile, the Feds are asking the tech and entertainment industries for help in fighting terrorists online. But in really important news, instead of just liking a post on Facebook, you can now add an emoji. Smiley face emoticon! We're going to talk about all that and more tech news in our regular Thursday Web roundup.

Xeni Jardin, BoingBoing.net (@xeni)

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