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Open K-12 Petition Drive in Response to Microsoft School Settlement

Dec 14, 2001, 17:45 (12 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Stephen Adler)
"...Because the settlement is completely biased toward the introduction of Microsoft software products to our underprivileged K-12 schools, and because it provides for basically no other alternatives than the use of Microsoft software products, this on-line petition project has been formed. One goal of this petition is to try and influence the terms of the settlement such that the complete bias toward Microsoft software products is removed. Another goal is to bring public awareness through this grass roots project to this issue. Finally, we hope to bring to the attention of Honorable Judge Fredrick Motz, who's presiding over this case, the fact that there are a lot of people who feel this settlement is unjust to the plaintiff since it in effect discourages competition in the software industry at many levels.

The proposal put forward by this petition, is to change the conditions of the settlement such that Microsoft have no say what so ever in how the money of the settlement be spent. This should be accomplished by having Microsoft donate cash grants to the underprivileged K-12 schools which were targeted in the original settlement. The size of the individual grants should be in proportion to the number of students enrolled in the school. The schools should then be directed to spend the money on computer hardware, software, networking infrastructure and Internet connection bandwidth for systems used by the teachers and students, as they best see fit for themselves. We emphasize that these funds be restricted to upgrading the IT infrastructure just mentioned, used directly in the classroom environment. These would be upgrades to system used in general class rooms, libraries, science labs, computer clubs or which ever other teaching forum the school has developed for the teaching of their students. The role of the Foundation, as created in the settlement agreement, should expend its efforts to ensure this funding policy be enforced.

Furthermore, in order to ensure that Microsoft has no part in directing how the settlement funds be spent, the Foundation created to manage the settlement funds should be made up of people from our leading science and education institutions. Examples of the people who should be sought to sit on the blue ribbon board of this foundation would be the head of the National Science Foundation, the head of the National Academy of Sciences, the Presidential Science Adviser, directors of our national laboratories, presidents of our renown universities, heads of teachers unions, the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Commerce or other people who have great knowledge of both education, its advancement and the free and open market system upon which the strength of this country is founded. The task of forming a search committee for these board members should be given to Honorable Judge Motz or someone to which he delegates this task."

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