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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 16, 2008 at 3:30 PM

Gates Foundation’s ambitious education plans

We can grow into them

I recognize that the dream of having 80 percent of minority low-income students go to college seems impossible, but at least someone here still believes in them [“Gates Foundation turns attention to higher education,” News, Nov. 12].

As a Millennial Gates Scholar applicant in 2006, I know they don’t just give this money away; there is an extensive application process. I didn’t receive the scholarship, but I was encouraged to see that someone understands that current rates are “unacceptable.”

Being a Latino who grew up in our state’s education system, I would never have thought of going to college had it not been for effective teachers who saw my potential. It is time to begin to load our schools with those kinds of teachers.

Doesn’t it mean anything when one of our state’s largest employers is doing something so unbelievable in order to help our nation’s education system? Could it be that our nation is no longer equipping students to fill those jobs at companies like Boeing and Microsoft?

I suggest that all philanthropies follow the example of the world’s largest and begin to invest in our future. This dream for the Gates Foundation might seem far-fetched to many but dreams come a size too big so that we may grow into them.

— Zain Paloalto, Kirkland

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