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Melinda Gates
On a Listening Tour with Melinda Gates

Tuesday, May. 08, 2007

by Claudia Wallis

When Melinda Gates listens, she leans in toward the speaker with rapt concentration, her eyes wide open, drinking in information. If she's visiting high school classrooms, as she was last month in Chicago, she doesn't hesitate to crouch down, in her heels and navy blue pantsuit, to get on eye level with a seated student and patiently ask questions. What she listens for are answers to some of the most vexing questions in public education: What does it take to turn a failing, urban high school into one that prepares students for higher education? How do you engage low-income, low-achieving minority students and launch them toward a viable future?

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