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Good Schools for All

A podcast about education. In each episode, hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn (Education Synergy Alliance) cut through the jargon and debate to explain education in the 21st century. Lewis and Kohn highlight successes, failures and solutions in the system and interview thought leaders at national, state and local levels.

Apr 27, 2018

Voice of San Diego education reporter Mario Koran is leaving his post.

His reporting on San Diego schools over the past five years has pulled back the curtain on several policies and practices that affect local families.

He’s tackled everything from school discipline, graduation rates, administrative scandals, bilingual education and more.

Koran sits down with hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn to look back at some of his most impactful work and the hurdles he had to overcome to report those stories.

Koran said one of the biggest challenges education reporters face is access to students and faculty. Having a good idea of what happens inside classrooms isn’t just essential to knowing how a community can improve their schools, but it keeps those in power accountable.

When local school districts start denying reporters access, transparency fades.

After Koran unveiled a series of scandals involving former board trustee Marne Foster, the San Diego Unified School District began shutting out Koran, making it difficult for him to get the information he needed.

“That was the moment where I had to sort of chart my own course,” he said. “I think that took me some time to try to navigate that, but eventually I think I found a way to keep reporting, to keep doing my job."

Koran went on to break important stories, including the district's practice of sending parents to collections when they don't pay school bus fees, he covered an alleged rape of a student at Lincoln High and the torment it caused a teacher there, and he dug into how San Diego Unified counseled some struggling students to transfer to charter schools.