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An Opportunity To Do Better

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"AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO BETTER" Modernizing Our Education System To Achieve Better Results

Carroll G. Robinson, Esq.* www.carrollgrobinson.com carrollcampaign@yahoo.com

" ...the nation needs to revisit the notion of how to provide affordable, quality education to those who really need it" - Judson Robinson III, President and CEO of the Houston Area Urban League.i

Political Advertisement paid for by Carroll G. Robinson for HCC Trustee Mikita Robinson, Treasurer ŠOctober 2011 - Carroll G. Robinson


An Opportunity To Do Better

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Table of Contents

I.

Letter to Houstonians

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I.

A Plan to Help

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III. Context

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IV. Community Colleges - Catalysts for Change

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V. Expand HCC's Early College Program

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VI. Dual Credits For All High School Students

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VII. Houston College Scholarship Day

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VIII. HCC Pre-Admission Certificate

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IX. Why

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X.

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Ambitious?

XI. ENDNOTES

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XII. APPENDIX A

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Political Advertisement paid for by Carroll G. Robinson for HCC Trustee Mikita Robinson, Treasurer ŠOctober 2011 - Carroll G. Robinson


An Opportunity To Do Better

Dear Fellow Houstonian: Together, we can make our community better. I am running for Houston Community College System (HCC) Trustee because I care about making things better now for all of us and to ensure that we preserve for our children and young people the thing that our parents, grandparents and generations before them struggled to provide us: An Opportunity To Do Better. For those of us who are parents, that too is still our goal; an opportunity for our children and theirs to do better than we have done. We can use HCC to modernize our educational system to make sure that we help provide our children and those in our community seeking work the opportunity to do better. I want HCC to be the Best, not just the Biggest, community college system in America. If you elect me your Trustee, I plan to work with HCC administrators and outside experts to have HCC undergo a comprehensive Performance Review and a Lean Six Sigma Management Audit. We need to make sure that HCC is working effectively and efficiently and that it has eliminated any waste and duplication. We must ensure that HCC is operating at its best; that we have the best academic programs, timely career/workforce skills development programs, and a fair, inclusive and transparent contracting process whose legitimacy is beyond doubt.ii

Sincerely,

Carroll G. Robinson

Political Advertisement paid for by Carroll G. Robinson for HCC Trustee Mikita Robinson, Treasurer ŠOctober 2011 - Carroll G. Robinson

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An Opportunity To Do Better

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"AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO BETTER" A Plan to Help...      

Reduce our Dropout Rate; Increase our High School Graduation Rate; Improve College Readiness; Produce More College Graduates; Increase our Workforce Readiness; and Eliminate our Workforce "Skills Gap". My Plan will help young people graduate from High School with not only a Diploma, but also at least one year of FREE College Credits and a Workforce/Career Skills Certificate. "An Opportunity To Do Better" will help more of our young people get to ... and Graduate from the Houston Community College System (HCC) with an Associate Degree. We can make it more affordable for people to get a college degree and the Workforce/Career Skills training they need to find a good paying job Now. HCC can be used right now to help more people get back to work at good paying jobs. Together, We can make these things happen.iii To Get Them Done, I Need Your Vote and Support.

Political Advertisement paid for by Carroll G. Robinson for HCC Trustee Mikita Robinson, Treasurer ©October 2011 - Carroll G. Robinson


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Context These are tough and serious times. The "Great Recession" has devastated our economy. Our unemployment rate is too high and so too is the rate of poverty in our nation and our community.iv Too many of our young people are dropping out of school and not graduating from High School - much less college - when competition for employment is growing more global and critical thinking, knowledge and social skillsv are the new "coin of the realm". In this new century, to successfully compete regionally as well as globally, we are going to have to do more than just blame teachers and focusing on teaching to a test. More money alone will also not be enough.vi As James M. Douglas the former president of Texas Southern University has said, "We can't test our way out of this problem, we have to teach our way out." To compete and win in this new century, we must modernize our education system from Pre-K/early childhood education through college, graduate and professional schools.vii Synchronizing our education system is one of the key cornerstones to our nation's long term sustained economic growth and broad-based shared prosperity. The more educated a person the more likely they will be employed, a business owner or entrepreneur. viiiThe more educated a person the lower their unemployment rate. The "Great Recession," global competition, and a dysfunctional political system in Washington, DC are undermining people's hope and faith in the future. If we are going to preserve the opportunity to do better for our children, we must modernize our education system to more fully and realistically deal with the relationship between college education, workforce readiness, employment and economic sustainability.ix

Political Advertisement paid for by Carroll G. Robinson for HCC Trustee Mikita Robinson, Treasurer ŠOctober 2011 - Carroll G. Robinson


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We can no longer treat these areas as mutually exclusive or accidentally interrelated.x Community Colleges - Catalysts for Modernization If we are to overcome the challenges now confronting us as individuals and a nation - high unemployment, underemployment, slow job growth, stagnant wages, increased poverty because of people falling out of the middle class, xi high dropout rates, the racial academic achievement gap, the need to increase the number of college graduates and workforce ready individuals - we must more effectively use our community colleges as the catalyst to modernize our educational system. We can modernize our education system in Houston by putting HCC Early Colleges on local High School and Middle School campuses.xii Expand HCC's Early College Program HCC, in partnership with local school districts, must expand its Early College, Workforce/Career Training and Dual Credit programs throughout its service area by placing them on local High School and Middle School campuses. Every student that graduates from High School in the HCC service area should do so with not only a Diploma, but also at least one year of FREE College Credits and a Workforce Skills Certificate.xiii This preparation would give students the option of going to college or entering the workforce upon their graduation from High School.xiv We must use our community colleges as the cornerstone for public/private partnerships that connect K-12 education with workforce skills development and the academic preparation necessary to do college level academic work. This will help increase the number of college graduates. The Brookings Institute has recently reiterated the fact that we have a "skills gap" problem in our community. We have high skills, high wage jobs but not enough people with the skills to fill them.xv Political Advertisement paid for by Carroll G. Robinson for HCC Trustee Mikita Robinson, Treasurer ŠOctober 2011 - Carroll G. Robinson


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If we can improve the academic, technical and critical thinking skills of those in our community that don't go on to college after graduating from High School, we will reduce the unemployment rate in our region which will result in more homeownership, more consumer spending and more revenue to local governments to provide basic services.xvi Dual Credits For All High School Students Every High School student across the HCC system from North Forest ISD, HISD, Alief ISD, Aldine ISD, Spring Branch ISD, Fort Bend County and Katy ISD should take Dual Credit courses if they aren't taking Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. As with AP and IB courses, students who take Dual Credit courses should receive financial support to take the placement exam. We should use existing philanthropic foundations to underwrite the cost of the COMPASS placement exam or establish a Houston Future Fund to do so. A Houston Future Fund should be a public/private partnership that not only helps pay for students to take the Dual Credit placement exam, it should also provide college scholarships to all local High School Graduates to attend area colleges and assist them with finding internshipsxvii during the Christmas break and in the summer. This effort would help our community hold on to our intellectual capacity while building our future workforce years in advance. Businesses in other communities are already engaged in similar efforts.xviii Houston College Scholarship Day To stress the importance of college attendance and workforce readiness, we should hold an annual Houston College Scholarship Day where we recognize all the young people in our community who have received a college scholarship and the local organizations and universities that have awarded academic college scholarships. Like we celebrate college athletic signing day, we should celebrate a Houston Academic College Scholarship Day. Political Advertisement paid for by Carroll G. Robinson for HCC Trustee Mikita Robinson, Treasurer ŠOctober 2011 - Carroll G. Robinson


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HCC Pre-Admission Certificate When students enter 6th grade, all of them should be awarded a Pre-Admission Certificate to HCC. The certificate would grant them automatic admission to HCC upon graduation from High School. Not every student will choose to attend HCC, but every student should know as early as the 6th grade that they have a college to attend upon graduation from High School.xix If colleges can recruit quarterbacks and basketball players in middle school, we can provide extra academic support to help students, in the earliest grades possible, achieve academic success, attend college and be workforce ready upon graduation from High School.xx In Middle School, The HCC Early College/Career training effort should focus on entrepreneurship training (in partnership with groups such as the Houston Area Urban League, HoustonWorks USA, Junior Achievement, local Chambers of Commerce and business associations) and pre-Dual Credit prep. This effort should continue through the first two years of High School. Students would then take the COMPASS placement exam and Dual Credit courses in their Junior and Senior years of High School.xxi If we did these things, in addition to securing funding to underwrite the second year of academic course work at HCC for Dual Credit High School Graduates, we could secure an Associate Degree, a better job and a brighter future for thousands of young people in our community.xxii Why This is why we need a Houston Future Fund, Early College Dual Credit prep starting in Middle School and the overall modernization of our education system. We can improve and modernize our education system in Houston. The Houston Community College System is the best vehicle to help lift Houston families out of poverty by building and growing an ever expanding pool of well educated individuals that are workforce ready or who go on to college and graduate with an Associate Degree within two years and a Bachelors Degree within four.xxiii Political Advertisement paid for by Carroll G. Robinson for HCC Trustee Mikita Robinson, Treasurer ŠOctober 2011 - Carroll G. Robinson


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This talent pool will help attract businesses and jobs to the Houston region as well as cultivate our own homegrown entrepreneurial talent, business owners and job creators. Ambitious? Some people have said my plan is too ambitious. I don't believe that. We can't simply wait and hope that some of our kids will make it through the gauntlet and find their way to college and a good paying job.xxiv Being ambitious has never been too big for the "Can Do" spirit of our community. Now is not the time to forget that being ambitious is what has built Houston into the great and unique city we are from the Allen brothers to today. As Dr. Benjamin Mays, the great president of Morehouse College and mentor to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said,

"It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn't a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideal, but it is a disaster to have no ideal to capture. It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure, but low aim is sin." ###

Political Advertisement paid for by Carroll G. Robinson for HCC Trustee Mikita Robinson, Treasurer ŠOctober 2011 - Carroll G. Robinson


An Opportunity To Do Better

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ENDNOTES *Carroll G. Robinson is an Associate Professor at Texas Southern University's Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs in Houston, Texas. He is Chairman of the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce and a Vice President of the NAACP Houston Branch. He is also a former At-Large Houston City Council Member and has served on the Board of Directors of the National League of Cities, State Bar of Texas, Children at Risk and Northeast YMCA. i

Judson Robinson III, HAUL prepared to help in finding quality jobs, Houston Chronicle, October 15, 2011, pg. B7. ii

See Appendix A.

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I am well aware that changes to current law and existing policies at the local and state levels may need to be modernized to fully implement "An Opportunity To Do Better." See Endnote XXIV and Carroll G. Robinson and Dr. Michael O. Adams, Building a Healthier Tre?, Tre Magazine, Vol.1, Issue 5, 2010, pg. 22. iv

www.census.gov(PowerPoint presentation - Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage: 2010, September 2011); Aswad Walker, More Texas children face poverty, Houston Defender, September 29, 2011, pg.6, www.DefenderNetwork.com; Rana Foroohar, The Truth About the Poverty Crisis, Time, September 26, 2011, pg.24; Randi Weingarten, A Great Need, A Greater Investment, The New York Times, September 23,2011, pg. A27; Douglas Stanglin, Census Bureau: U.S. poverty rises to 15.1%, highest since 1993, USA TODAY, September 13, 2011, www.usatoday.com; and Jeannie Kever, New census data shows a rise in poverty, Houston Chronicle, September 13, 2011, www.chron.com. v

Richard Florida, Where The Skills Are, The Atlantic, October 2011, pg. 75; and Norm Augustine, The Education Our Economy Needs, The Wall Street Journal, September 21, 2011, pg. A17. vi

See generally, Marcia Johnson, Carroll G. Robinson, Kimberly M. James and Jennifer M. Hahn, Amicus Brief filed in the Supreme Court of Texas, Neeley v. West Orange - Cove, (2005 Texas Public School funding case), www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us/Historical. vii

See e.g., Denise Grady, An Innovator Shapes an Empire, The New York Times (Science Times), October 11, 2011, pg. D1. (Customized Education). viii

Cliff Hocker, First To The Starting Line, Black Enterprise, December 2005, pg.32, www.BlackEnterprise.com. ix

Lizzie Schiffman, Jean-Claude Brizard Champions Vocational Programs In Chicago Public Schools, Huffington Post, October 6, 2011, www.huffingtonpost.com; Kevin Carey, Minding the Midpoint Where Labor and Education Meet, The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 9, 2011, pg. A25; Beckie Supiano, In Lifetime Earnings Education Matters, but So Do Occupation, Gender and Race, The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 2, 2011, pg. A28; and Karen W. Arenson, Program to Deter High School Dropouts by Offering College Courses, The New York Times, October 24, 2007, www.TheNewYorkTimes.com. See also, www.centerforamerica.org. Political Advertisement paid for by Carroll G. Robinson for HCC Trustee Mikita Robinson, Treasurer ŠOctober 2011 - Carroll G. Robinson


An Opportunity To Do Better

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See Carey and Supiano, Endnote IX.

xi

Don Peck, Can The Middle Class Be Saved?, The Atlantic, September 2011, pg. 60; Gregory Acs, Downward Mobility from The Middle Class: Waking Up from The American Dream, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Economic Mobility Project, September 2011; Vanishing middle, Houston Chronicle September 18, 2011, pg. B9; Christopher Rugaber and Dave Carpenter, U.S. household wealth dipped during spring, Houston Chronicle, September 18, 2011, pg. D7; Michael A. Fletcher, Many in U.S. slipping from middle class, study finds, Houston Chronicle, September 12, 2011, pg. B6; and Hope Yen, Wealth gap gets even wider, USA TODAY, July 27, 2011, pg. 5B. xii

Joyce King, In helping minorities, Bloomberg gets it, USA TODAY, September 23, 2011 pg. 25A; Ericka Arredondo, Let's boost the number of Hispanics at Texas Colleges, Houston Chronicle, March 12, 2011, pg. B7; Trip Gabriel, Academic Standing of Black Males Is Found to Be Bleaker Than Expected, The New York Times, November 9, 2010, pg. A24; and Tara Malone, Only 20 % of 8th-graders on right track for college, study finds, Houston Chronicle, December 11, 2008, pg. A6; and The forgotten years, Houston Chronicle, March 8, 2007, www.chron.com. See also, Susan Engel, Playing to Learn, The New York Times, February 2, 2010, pg. A23; Benedict Carey, Studying Young Minds, and How to Teach Them, The New York Times, December 21, 2009, www.TheNewYorkTimes.com; and Richard E. Nisbett, Education Is All in Your Mind, The New York Times, February 7, 2009, www.TheNewYorkTimes.com. xiii

Texas is currently "dead last in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma." Mimi Swartz, Dimming of The Lone Star, The New York Times Magazine, October 2, 2011, pg. 14. xiv

See Endnote IX.

xv

Jonathan Rothwell and Alan Berube, Education, Demand, and Unemployment in Metropolitan America, Brookings, September 2011; City needs to close "education gap", Houston Chronicle, September 14, 2011, www.chron.com; Hilda Solis, Education can prepare job seekers for employment in new lines of work, Houston Chronicle, September 4, 2011, pg. B8; Rod Herrick, Plenty of Jobs, but few qualified to handle the work, Houston Chronicle, June 12, 2011, pg B6; and Joe Light, Labor Shortage Persists in Some Fields, February, The Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2011, pg. B6. xvi

See generally Endnote XII and DeWayne Wickham, If young black men don't learn now, we'll all pay later, USA TODAY, November 16, 2010, pg. 11A. xvii

Reverend T.J. Martinez, Prep school takes Austin out of education, Houston Chronicle, August 19, 2011, www.chron.com. xviii

Jonathan Katz, Murphy Oil Co.: College Scholarship Program 'Unprecedented' IndustryWeek, February 1, 2007, www.IndustryWeek.com; Sylvia Moreno, College Scholarship for All No Myth in El Dorado, The Washington Post, January 31, 2007, www.TheWashingtonPost.com. If the corporations listed on the Houston Chronicle top 100 businesses each donate one-quarter of one percent of their after tax profits we would have hundreds of millions that could be invested and the interest payments and a small portion of the principal could be used to provide college scholarships. xix

See Malone and The forgotten years, Endnote XII. Political Advertisement paid for by Carroll G. Robinson for HCC Trustee Mikita Robinson, Treasurer ŠOctober 2011 - Carroll G. Robinson


An Opportunity To Do Better

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xx

Dick Weiss, Recruiting stunt by USC football coach Lane Kiffin involving David Sills raises bigger NCAA concern, NY Daily News, February 7, 2010, www.nydailynew.com; and Sean Gregory, Sport: Courting Eighth-Graders, Time, September 27, 2007, www.time.com. xxi

See Endnote IX.

xxii

David Baime, Obama's Best Bet: $5 Billion for Community Colleges, The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 23, 2011, pg. A30; Jennifer Gonzalez, Antipoverty Group Works With Community Colleges to Graduate More Students, The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 9, 2011, pg. A22 ("$65 billion in federal benefits were left unclaimed..."); www.benefits.gov; and www.dfps.state.tx.us. xxiii

Tamar Lewin, Once in First Place, Americans Now Lag in Attaining College Degrees, The New York Times, July 23, 2010, pg. A10. xxiv

President Obama is offering waivers to the No Child Left Behind law to allow communities to innovate and modernize their education system to help lower the dropout rate, increase college readiness and the High School and college graduation rates. Sam Dillon, Obama to Offer Waiver on Parts of Education Law, The New York Times, September 23, 2011, pg. A17.

APPENDIX A

IDEAS & SOLUTIONS FOR HCC ACADEMICS 

Make HCC not just the Biggest – but the BEST Community College System in America.

Grant automatic admission to the Houston Community College System to every High School graduate in the HCC service area.

Partner with local school districts, charter schools and private schools to expand dual credit programs and to place an HCC Early College in as many local High Schools as possible. *Our Goal should be ensuring that every student graduates from High School with at least one year of free college credits and a Work Force Skills Certificate so they can go on to college or immediately into a good paying job.

Provide Entrepreneurship (How to start, manage and grow a business) Training to High School Students, Small Business Owners and all students attending HCC.

Increase the enrollment of the HCC Honors College. Political Advertisement paid for by Carroll G. Robinson for HCC Trustee Mikita Robinson, Treasurer ©October 2011 - Carroll G. Robinson


An Opportunity To Do Better

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Expand HCC on-line course offerings locally through our public libraries and community centers in partnership with the City of Houston, Harris County and other local governments. Efforts should also be made to expand HCC’s on-line program into Latin, South and Central America as well as the Caribbean.

Implement an Internet based platform System-wide to use handheld “smart” phones/devices to offer substantive course content to students.

Promote and Support Guaranteed Admission into a four (4) year Public University for all HCC students who graduate from the System with an Associate’s Degree.

Develop a Workforce Certificate Program in Electrical Grid-Smart Grid-Management, Operation, Maintenance and Repair. Also develop a program to train Oil & Gas Field Workers, Railroad Engineers and an Apprentice Program with the Seafarers International Union.

Develop an Arts to Employment Program * Train people for the behind the scenes jobs in the arts and music industry. SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Develop an HCC/C-STEM Partnership * Recruit students into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Programs (See, Greater Houston Partnership’s Opportunity Houston 2005-2015 Strategic Plan, www.opportunityhouston.org). * Develop a national model and have HCC become the entity authorized to certify C-STEM programs throughout the Houston-Galveston Region in partnership with U of H, TSU and Texas A&M.

Provide free (or discounted) parking for Electric and Hybrid vehicles on HCC campuses and place electric charging stations on HCC parking lots.

Measure and Reduce HCC Carbon Footprint *Make sure that any climate change legislation, at the state or federal level, gives HCC credits for all reductions already achieved so that those credits can be sold to make money for HCC (Revenue for HCC). STUDENT SUPPORT

Expand Child Care Services for all HCC students, faculty and staff during the entire time that the campuses are open. Political Advertisement paid for by Carroll G. Robinson for HCC Trustee Mikita Robinson, Treasurer ©October 2011 - Carroll G. Robinson


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CAMPUS SECURITY 

Improve Campus Security *Coordinate HCC police patrols with those of other local law enforcement agencies to improve and increase public safety for students and residents in the neighborhoods surrounding HCC campuses. * Modernize HCC Police Department (Joel Rubin, Predicting crime before it happens, Houston Chronicle, September 5, 2010, pg. A15). * Install High Tech Security Cameras on the Perimeter of HCC facilities (See, e.g., Judy Keen, Daley wants cameras at bars, USA TODAY, February 15, 2006, pg. 3A.)([C]amera can detect gunshots within a two-block radius). * Interlocal agreements with HPD, Metro Police, HISD and other ISD Police Departments, local college police departments, Harris County Sheriff, Constables and DPS so that they can have monitoring access to security cameras. * Allow people to use cell/smart phone cameras to send pictures to HCC Police Dept/cars to instantly report a suspected crime/criminal/threat (Christine Hauser, Police Enlist Tipsters With Camera Phones in the Fight on Crime, The New York Times, October 10, 2008, pg.C12). *Build a police radio system that is interoperable with Harris County and HPD. * Update Emergency and Homeland Security Preparedness, Response and Evacuation Plans. *Enhanced active shooter training for HCC Police Officers. * Improve Computer System Cyber Security Protections to better protect students (FERPA), faculty and staff privacy rights and to prevent identity theft. GOVERNANCE

Place HCC Trustees and candidates’ campaign finance reports on-line. Prohibit HCC Trustees from working for companies or individuals doing business with the System and prohibit businesses owned by Trustee family members from doing business with the System. Conduct annual ethics training for Trustees, administrators and all other employees.

Political Advertisement paid for by Carroll G. Robinson for HCC Trustee Mikita Robinson, Treasurer ©October 2011 - Carroll G. Robinson


An Opportunity To Do Better

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Have HCC undergo a comprehensive Lean Six Sigma Performance Review and Management Audit by the Texas Comptroller’s Office. The purpose is to identify savings that can be achieved by eliminating any operational, programmatic and management duplication and inefficiencies as well as any possible waste, fraud and abuse in the System’s procurement process. *The Goal: to achieve savings that can be used to (1) hold the line on tuition, (2) invest in compensation for classroom faculty and (3) maintain and improve the physical facilities and infrastructure of the System. 

Broadcast HCC Board meetings live on the Internet and simulcast them live to all HCC campuses. ###

Political Advertisement paid for by Carroll G. Robinson for HCC Trustee Mikita Robinson, Treasurer ©October 2011 - Carroll G. Robinson


An Opportunity To Do Better