Settlement Would Benefit City Schools
Assemblyman Steven Sanders
proposed settlement of more than 100 class action lawsuits against
Microsoft could yield tens of millions of dollars for New York
City public schools, and for this reason I have written to the
U.S. District Judge who must approve the deal, urging him to do
Under the proposed settlement, Microsoft will provide more than
$1 billion nationwide in computers, software, cash, training and
support services to help make computer technology more accessible
to public schools where at least 70 percent of students come from
While the proposed settlement has its critics, I agree with NYS
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who certainly has been very tough
on Microsoft, that this a settlement in the public interest and
one which will uniquely benefit public education.
The school-computer component of the settlement would provide
for the company to make grants to local foundations and community
organizations for purchasing computers and software, in order
to provide sustainable, long-term funding for information technology
in under-served schools. Among other activities, local foundations
will be encouraged to establish sustaining programs to further
support schools’ technology needs.
is significant that local school officials will have the flexibility
to choose either Microsoft or non-Microsoft technology, and the
plan also envisions Microsoft matching a substantial amount of
donations of computer technology to local schools from other sources.
While it is most certainly true that computers by themselves don’t
improve a school without appropriate support services, trained
staff and the requisite classroom space or wiring, the impact
of such a large influx of computers, software and requisite support
services will be a boon for many for our city’s 1,100 elementary,
middle and secondary schools.
Those who negotiated this component of the proposed settlement
were smart enough to incorporate aspects involving training of
teachers, school administrators and support personnel not just
in utilizing the technology but also in how to best integrate
it into a school’s curriculum.
If our children are to rise to the challenges posed by the global
economy, and in an era of rising standards for academic achievement,
every school needs all the resources possible, including excellent
teachers, ample textbooks, safe and modern facilities, and state-of-the
art technology–with appropriate support services. Regardless of
any other aspects of the long and complex Microsoft litigation,
the proposed school technology component will bring tens of millions
of dollars worth of much needed technology and support service
to our local schools.
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