The students and legislators of Illinois do have a legitimate complaint about the difficulty in a classroom run by an instructor speaking poor English (Part I, Sept. 27), but their legislative relief is aimed at the wrong target.
The real culprit is the ever-worsening practice in our universities of allowing professors, whose primary responsibility, as the administrators will piously proclaim, is to teach, to teach as little as they can get away with--a practice that allows poorly paid graduate students as "teaching assistants," admittedly with no teaching experience, to take over classes while the professors pursue research grants, lucrative consulting jobs or run their own off-campus companies.
The teaching assistants, who are the effective targets of the new Illinois law, are among the worst exploited class in our universities. They are supposed to assist--doing such chores as grading papers and reports, running discussion sessions, helping in the laboratory, etc., to allow the professors more time to be more effective at teaching.
But they end up regularly teaching classes and earn a pittance for it, while the professors they assist (nay, substitute for) take home ten times as much.