Yesterday's proposal by Microsoft to settle more than 100 class-action lawsuits and provide more than $1 billion in cash and software to our nation's poorest schools is both innovative and just. Not only will this settlement benefit consumers and the high-tech industry, but it will also help bridge the digital divide that has emerged between wealthy and poor students in Washington state and across the nation.

By providing $1 billion to schools, Microsoft will provide disadvantaged students at some of our nation's poorest schools with the skills they need to succeed in a competitive workplace. This is a win-win situation.

The settlement is a fair compromise and the result of extensive negotiations. Microsoft worked hard to reach this creative and stimulative result, and may now turn its full resources back to developing products that provide real benefits to consumers in a competitive marketplace.

As someone who has worked to provide technology for our classrooms, I know that this is good news for millions of students and teachers in underprivileged schools across the country, including 200 schools in Washington state.

By giving our schools the keys to success in a competitive workplace, Microsoft has ensured that our students will be the real winners in this settlement.