29547355 submission Submission + - Tech Billionaire-Backed Charter School Under Fire Submitted by theodp on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @10:04AM theodp writes: 'As a nonprofit venture philanthropy firm,' boasts the billionaire-backed NewSchools Venture Fund, 'we raise philanthropic capital from both individual and institutional investors, and then use those funds to support education entrepreneurs who are transforming public education.' One recipient of the NewSchools' largesse is The Noble Network of Charter Schools, which received a $5,300,000 NewSchools "investment", as well as a $1,425,000 grant from NewSchools donor Bill Gates. One way that Noble Street College Prep has been transforming education, reports the Chicago Tribune, is by making students pay the price — literally — for breaking the smallest of rules (sample infractions). Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended Noble after a FOIA filing revealed the charter collected almost $190,000 in discipline "fees" — not "fines" — last year from its mostly low-income students, saying the ironically exempt-from-most-district-rules charter school gets 'incredible' results and parents don't have to send their children there. Beyond the Noble case, some are asking a bigger question: Should billionaires rule our schools? David Morris thinks not: 'This year, governments may lose $50 billion because of tax deductions taken overwhelmingly by the rich for charitable givings intended primarily to enhance their status with their brethren or to attack the public sector. We can't stop the rich from using their money for their own purposes. But we should not add insult to injury by giving them huge amounts of public sums to attack the public sector.' Got a problem with kicking kids out of a Bill Gates-backed charter school to free up the building for one bankrolled by HP CEO Meg Whitman, David?