@Open office is crap.
"Besides, how is MS giving cheap software to education a BAD THING? Or, at least a worse thing that indoctrinating them with OSS/Linux instead?"
Because it keeps their monopolisation of the market in check, which means less change and less chance for competitors to get a foot in.
If curricular education were as receptive to change as higher education we might start to get somewhere. Just because they know how Microsoft Office works (and I use "know" loosely) is not a reason to keep using it, it just means they might have to retrain a little (oooh, controversial...)
I don't use OpenOffice, but then I don't really use Microsoft Office either, but in the interests of not paying a fortune I'd bloody learn!
Little x Many still equals Lots