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Hold unmotivated students to account, too As a high school teacher, I certainly agree that teachers and schools must bear part of the burden when students do not succeed ("When teachers get the grade," Oct. 5). But even the best can't teach a student who refuses to do his or her part. I have had great success in the past 25 years and consider myself a master teacher, but I have finally learned that some are not there for an education. They want to visit their friends, keep their driver's license (a requirement in Georgia), or sell drugs.

How can I teach the student who spends most of his time trying to catch a nap behind his book; the one who can't read the literature selection independently and then says she is bored when I spend class time reading and explaining it; the one who shows up two or three times a week? How can I teach students to write when they simply won't turn in an assignment for me to respond to? What can I do for those who are vacantly staring into space when I am going over the practice graduation test the day before their future will be determined? How can I improve a student's grammar when he insists, "I talk good enough; I don't need no fancy language"? How can I convince a girl she needs an education to make a living when I know she makes more on the streets than I bring home?

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I hate to give up on any student, but I can only work with those who will work with me. Unlike the factory that can be evaluated by the quality it turns out, I have no control over the raw materials that enter my "machine." Yes, we do need to improve the quality of our schools, but those who urge us to "hold the adults accountable" must either help us find a way to convince more of our students that they need to be here, or find an alternative for those who don't want an education. Charles Lewis, Fitzgerald, Ga.

Effective immigration reform The American Immigration Lawyers Association strongly endorses the idea at the heart of a recent Monitor editorial, "Reforming US gatekeepers" (Oct. 1). Unfortunately, you have picked the wrong vehicle through which to restructure the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

We agree that Congress should separate the adjudications and enforcement functions but keep them in the Department of Justice. There also must be strategic coordination between the two functions; a single, focused, national chain of command to pursue both an integrated national enforcement strategy and the immigration services functions; and adequate funding of both enforcement and adjudications.

Our disagreement is over which piece of legislation would best accomplish these goals. Both S.1563 and HR 2580 meet these goals. HR 2528 does not provide for a single person to oversee, coordinate, and integrate immigration policy. As a result, the two proposed separate bureaus would ensure conflicting messages on policy matters and legal interpretations, and the two bureaus working at cross purposes.

AILA supports S. 1563, which if implemented would mean true reform: a single, accountable person at the top, coordination between enforcement and adjudications, and an adequate funding mechanism. Jeanne A. Butterfield, Washington Executive Director American Immigration Lawyers Assn.

Depleted-uranium reports appreciated I want to thank The Christian Science Monitor for its continuing investigation into our military use of depleted uranium bullets ("The Trail of a Bullet," Oct. 5). That our peace-loving country continues to use these bullets is an outrage. I fail to understand why other news media are not reporting this story. Thank you for doing your part. Diane Ross, Fullerton, Calif.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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