Iowa schools are getting $60 million from software giant Microsoft’s payment to settle an antitrust lawsuit in the state, reports the Des Moines Register. Iowa schools will use the money for technology upgrades, and state officials say it could not come at a better time: The nation’s schools face mounting pressure to find new ways to teach children, who will need critical thinking and high-tech skills to compete for jobs. More than 1,000 Iowa schools, about 75 percent, will get a piece of the Microsoft money, which will go only to schools that report a certain share of children who are eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunch. The vouchers will go out in January, said Judy Jeffrey, the state’s top education official. School officials who apply for the money must explain how they will tie technology to the Iowa core curriculum, the state’s mandatory blueprint for what students should learn. Microsoft was the target of a federal lawsuit that claimed the company overcharged Iowa consumers and businesses for certain products. The case was settled in 2007, and Microsoft has paid millions of dollars to consumers in several other states as well. Iowa’s share was about $180 million, and Iowa schools were to receive about half of the money not claimed by consumers…

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