Mario Koran

Fellow, New America CA

Mario Koran was a 2016 New America CA fellow. Koran is an education reporter for Voice of San Diego, an online investigative news outlet. His investigations and analyses have revealed problems and helped shape policies in San Diego Unified, the second-largest school district in California. Mario has written for the New York Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

As a graduate student, Koran led a collaborative project between the Wisconsin Innocence Project and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. There, he spent a semester helping Innocence Project attorneys investigate the reliability of testimony from jailhouse informants.

As a 2016 New America California Fellow, Koran worked to improve parent engagement at high-poverty schools in San Diego, paying particular attention to schools that are triply segregated by ethnicity, poverty, and language. Mario reported what he found in a weekly explanatory column, The Learning Curve. Those topics grew into larger investigations, where he identified systemic problems and highlighted potential solutions.

Koran’s master’s in journalism and bachelor's in Spanish literature both come from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in his home state.

All Work

San Diego Unified Reverses Course, Stops Sending Parents to Collections

The decision represents a change in tone by school board members, who defended the program in November.

San Diego Unified Sends Parents Who Can't Pay for School Bus Rides to a Collections Agency

California is one of a dozen states that allows school districts to charge parents fees for bus rides to school.

At Some District High Schools, Grad Rates Are Climbing as They Lose More Students

Schools with rising graduation rates are also losing students to charter schools and schools in other parts of town.

A House in Bay Park, But No Hope of a Green Card

Despite achieving financial success and marrying a US citizen, one man is now a priority for deportation.

Struggling Students Moved to Online Charters, Boosting District's Record Grad Rate

Charter schools that allow students to recover credits are serving as an escape hatch.

California Said Yes to Bilingual Education. Now What?

Here are the challenges school districts will face in mounting strong bilingual programs.

The Learning Curve: Race and Class Often Color the Debate Over Charter Schools

Are charter schools adequately educating black and Latino students?

The Learning Curve: We Called in Backup to Cover Bilingual Ed

The Learning Curve: A Group Effort on Bilingual Ed

Bilingual students may be San Diego’s greatest natural resource.

California Summer Series

The New America CA fellows write about their projects for the California Column.

What Common Core Means for English-Learners

Mario Koran wrote for Voice of San Diego about Common Core and DLL.

Learning the American Dream in Translation

Mario Koran explains how he learned he was Mexican—and how poor policies and prejudice are hurting English learners.