Celebrate Opening Days for School Choice, Major League Baseball with Media Bullpen

Baseball season’s Opening Day means it’s not only time to start rooting for my Colorado Rockies. It’s also a great opportunity to introduce you to a relatively new baseball-themed website created by the Center for Education Reform, The Media Bullpen:

The Media Bullpen is a dynamic, virtual newsroom that covers the news and the news of education. It’s a sophisticated and unique technological environment that allows everyone to get in the game on the greatest discussions of our day. To understand those discussions, we need great information and reporting on all the issues relating to education—all the time.

Each day nearly 500 stories—and sometimes many more—are produced in the media about education, but they often lack the context for the public to get engaged. The Bullpen will empower the public to put in context what they see and hear. The problem is not that education is under-reported; the larger issue is that all too often, it is misreported. Balance, context, sound data, and an institutional knowledge of the many issues are often missing.

What I like about the site is how they rate the stories — anywhere from a strikeout to a home run based on “objectivity, proper context” and “exploration of data and search for accuracy.” Right now there’s a team of umpires — er, editors — doing the ratings, but it looks like the goal is to engage the readers in the rating and comment process soon.

I suspect The Media Bullpen soon will be rating stories about a couple major developments that look to have made yesterday, March 30, 2011, a landmark day for parental choice in education.

Not only did the U.S. House approve restoring and expanding the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (despite the unsettling news of the president’s opposition), but the Indiana House of Representatives also voted 56-41 to adopt “the nation’s broadest voucher program.” According to the American Federation for Children:

Up to 15,000 children would be eligible to benefit in the program’s second year of operation. Children whose parents make less than $60,000 per year (for a family of four) would be able to access vouchers.

Importantly, the legislation provides strong accountability measures to make certain that only high-quality private schools—which lead to increased student performance—can participate in the program.

Both bills still have to pass through a senate vote and need to be signed into law — in one case by President Barack Obama, in the other by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. But what big steps have been taken!

So while today opens the regular season of America’s Major League pastime, yesterday well may have opened the doors of learning opportunity for many kids in our nation’s capital and in our nation’s heartland. How can you not go ahead and smile after that?