Iowa legislation would give students the power to can instructors

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Students in Iowa may soon be able to fire their professors.

A state Senate bill would throw out traditional ways of evaluating professors, and require universities to judge instructors based entirely on student feedback. More: it would require each school to publish the names of its five lowest-rated professors. Students would then vote and the professor with the lowest rating would be fired, tenure and contract be damned.

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The reality show-esque proposal comes amid a renewed national conversation about how to make college not just affordable, but worthwhile. Advocates say the bill would give students a way to hold schools accountable. Sen. Mark Chelgren, the Republican who introduced the bill, told the Chronicle of Higher Education it offers a mechanism for students to say certain professors aren't worth the money.

But opponents argue that it could unfairly disadvantage professors who give hard assignments or otherwise challenge students in ways that ultimately help them grow.

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There's also the fact that students are horribly biased against female professors. An assistant professor at Northeastern University recently showed that students are far more likely to attribute favorable descriptors to men across nearly every course of study.

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Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.

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