"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, February 19, 2010

"Houston Oil Executives Up the Ante at YES Prep Poker Tournament"

Hedge fund managers and banksters fund NYC charters; the Daley political machine and his cronies run Chicago charters; and one of the biggest charter chains in Houston is funded by oil and energy execs looking for tax breaks.

Houston Oil Executives Up the Ante at YES Prep Poker Tournament

February 19, 2010, 11:48 AM EST

By Edward Klump

Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Houston, the energy capital of the world, seemed more like the Las Vegas Strip last night.

About 600 employees from oil and natural-gas companies gathered downtown for more than five hours of Texas Hold ‘Em as YES Prep Public Schools held its sold-out fifth annual oil and gas poker fundraiser.

Companies such as Marathon Oil Corp. paid $5,000 to $25,000 per table. Individuals could buy a seat for $600 each.

YES Prep, a charter-school system that requires students to be accepted to a four-year college before graduating, said it raised about $800,000 before expenses on the tournament, which has swelled from 180 people its first year.

“I’ve been in the oil and gas business for 26 years and basically you’re either playing golf, shooting skeet or going to some gala,” said Joe Greenberg, president of Alta Resources LLC and chairman of YES Prep’s board. “This is by far the most fun event, in my opinion, in the oil and gas business every year.”

Workers in casino attire dealt cards and counted chips in the Corinthian, a neoclassical building with columns rising 35 feet (11 meters). The event included door prizes such as round- trip airfare and a set of King Cobra SZ irons.

The tournament winner, David Baggett, founder and managing partner of Opportune LLP, only received congratulations because of Texas gambling restrictions.

“Essentially, you’re playing against your peers for bragging rights and the winner gets basically their picture in Oil and Gas Investor magazine,” said Ryan Dolibois, chief development officer at YES Prep.


The YES Prep system, chartered in 1998, said it receives about 80 percent of its funding from state and federal sources, with the rest from donors such as foundations and corporations.

The board of trustees includes energy executives such as Greenberg, as well as Douglas Selman, who is retired from Exxon Mobil Chemical Co., Janet Clark, chief financial officer at Marathon, and Alan Harris, chief development officer at Spectra Energy Corp.


  1. Anonymous2:12 PM

    Sorry to be off-topic, and sorry if this has already been addressed by Schools Matter, but it looks like they've made enough "progress" dismantling urban school systems that they're confident that it's time to set their aim on suburban districts -- this was in my morning's paper:


    (In case the link doesn't work, Cincinnati Enquirer, Feb 19, " 'Private public' schools criticized")

    This article is about The Fordham Insitute's new study questioning whether suburban districts deserve public money because they serve so few poor students. It argues that these school districts are so "exclusive" that they are essentially private schools and as such, shouldn't receive tax funds. That is, public funding of any school is the same as welfare and the suburbs aren't poor enough.

    It says, "Many people voice opposition to school voucher...programs because they object to public funds supporting 'exclusive' private schools...Would these same folks oppose public funding for America's 2,800 'private public schools' - funding that runs into the tens of billions of dollars?"

    Yes, we all agree, the inequality is past revolting, but of course that's not what this is about -- this is about starting the attack to defund the schools which actually receive the support that *all* school deserve, and which produce the results that show what's really possible. This is about getting rid of the proof that there can be excellent public schools, and chip away at the middle class a bit, too.

    Full disclosure: Yes, we live in such a district (though we must have "enough" low-income students in ours to have escaped this paricular dragnet, we're not listed in this article). It's a choice we made primarily because we have a special needs kid and being in a district with deep pockets was a priority for us; the progress our son continues to make convinces us we made the right choice. We only wish every child had the same opportunities.

    I will also add that it's not like I didn't see this coming (especially as a occasional visitor to this site). I was just hoping my family would have enough time to get our kid through school -- and sell our house before the property values were cut -- before the suburbs were in their sights. Oh well.

    Keep doucumenting the atrocities,
    Ohio Mom

  2. Laura7:04 AM

    I'm playing good enough for this tournament