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January 26, 2005

Can't Understand Your Professor? Get A Refund. [Say Anything]

Its about time this was addressed (via Dakota Pundit).

BISMARCK, N.D. - Students should get their money back if they can't understand lectures delivered with thick accents and quirky pronunciations, says a lawmaker who wants to outlaw unclear English in the classroom.

"The number one priority of higher education is instructing the student, the paying customer," said Rep. Bette Grande, R-Fargo.

Grande is sponsoring legislation that would bar teachers from undergraduate courses if they cannot clearly speak English. Students who complain in writing about a teacher's diction would be refunded their tuition and fee payments for that course.

I cannot begin to describe to you the frustration I felt when sitting in the back of my math class trying to understand advanced concepts being taught me in a thick Indian accent. What's even worse is when the instructor can't understand you when you're trying to ask a question. I paid for the education, seems to me I have the right to receive it in a way I can understand. And this isn't about "learning to deal with cultural differences." If I sign up for a math class, I want math. If I wanted culture I'd sign up for a humanities course.

Of course, the university administrators are dead-set against this.

Higher education officials said the measure is intrusive and would spur a flood of questionable refund requests.

"Our students are very bright and will soon learn to use this law as an excuse to drop any class with a bad grade to receive a complete refund," said Michel Hillman, a university system vice chancellor.

That's a good point, and the legislation does contain certain safe-guards against it being abused.

Grande's legislation requires instructors to prove their command of English in an interview before they're allowed to teach. The measure also says teachers must be pulled from the classroom if 10 percent of students in a class complain about the teacher's speaking ability.

As long as there is a sufficient amount of oversight and an appeal process to ensure that students aren't abusing it as the vice chancellor suggests, this is a perfectly common-sense piece of legislation that should be passed.

[Cross-posted at Say Anything]

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posted by Ace at 02:24 PM

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