Orange County College Planetarium funding gets an upgrade

Orange County College is building a new planetarium to better serve its students. It hopes to do more than to better serve the students of the college. Orange County College hopes to serve many of the elementary, middle and high school students found in the hundreds of public schools throughout the California county. Learn more about Orange Coast College: http://www.orangecoastcollege.edu/about_occ/Pages/default.aspx and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Coast_College

The new planetarium’s price tag of $20 million will remain the same, but the cost to the college and the state has been reduced by $1 million. The price is reduced through the donation of a retired Spanish and English teacher.

Mary McChesney decided to give the donation out of her fondness for the institution. She said that even though she is old and has not taught for many years, she still loves the institution. She wants to make sure that generations of students can continue to learn and grow because of the efforts of the institution.

The highest portion of the costs of building the new facility will go to upgrading technology. McChesney’s donation, for example, will help fund the construction of a Foucault pendulum. A Foucault pendulum is a device planetariums use to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth.

The Orange County Community College’s planetarium is receiving more than just technological upgrades. The new facility is receiving a seating upgrade over its predecessor. Previously, it could accommodate 35 people. When the new building is finished, it will accommodate over one hundred people.

As one public television personality once said, the new upgrade will allow students to see the greatest show of all: the universe.

How Betsy DeVos Supports School Choice

As a lifelong philanthropist, Betsy DeVos has donated to a large number of charities and nonprofits. Her favored types of charities are for education and the arts but she also donates to nonprofits that are dedicated to building leadership as well as churches and other causes. Additionally, she has spent time in leadership positions within the Republican party including serving as the Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party for six years.

Educational reform is the largest cause that Betsy DeVos both donates money to as well as serving in leadership positions for a number of organizations that are dedicated to changing how the educational system works in the United States. Many public schools provide a very poor education to students, especially those where the majority of children come from families earning a low income. Betsy believes that the solution is charter schools that are operated by private companies. She thinks children receive a much better education in this environment and will thus achieve much more in their careers. In order to help parents pay for this, Betsy DeVos proposes tax reforms such as vouchers and tax credits as well as educational savings accounts which will be tax advantaged. Read her interview with Philantrophy Table.

Two of the educational reform organizations that Betsy has served on the boards of are the American Education Reform Council and Children First America, both of which are national organizations. She has also championed educational reform in her home state of Michigan where she founded the Great Lakes Education Project. This nonprofit pushed for expanded charter schools in Michigan as well as legislation that would help to support that effort. Another educational organization she chaired was the American Federation for Children which also pushed for educational reform on a national basis.

Betsy DeVos points to Florida as one of her biggest achievements in educational reform. Today, through her efforts the state has a tax-credit scholarship program which helps parents pay to have their children attend the school of their choice. While several groups have opposed these reforms in support of public schools, Betsy and the school choice organizations in the state been able to protect the programs that were passed.

Betsy DeVos began serving as the U.S. Secretary of Education in February 2017. She has pledged to serve as an advocate of students and their parents in her support of providing more educational choices being made nationally available. Showing her longtime support of children she has pointed to the 15 years she spent as a mentor to at-risk children within the Grand Rapids Public Schools system. She thinks all children are entitled to a quality education that prepares them well for entry into the job market after graduating from high school and then college.

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