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The education system is shifting underneath us. Common Core has arrived. Tests are changing.

Put simply, parents need to understand how schools work so they can help their children get the most of it. The problem is the public is too often disconnected from schools, the same institutions everyone – on some level – recognizes as vital.

Maybe you have kids in school, but can’t penetrate the jargon and eduspeak you hear from the school district. You could be retired, but want to make sure our tax dollars are spent on programs that have measurable impact. Maybe you don’t have kids, but believe a quality education to be the cornerstone of creating engaged, mobile adults.

Whatever the case, in the year and half I’ve been reporting on San Diego schools, I’ve noticed a gap between many peoples’ values and their understanding when it comes to our schools. Most often, it’s not because people don’t care. It’s because they don’t understand. I’ve heard from many parents who desperately want to understand, but don’t know which questions to ask.

I’d like to help build a bridge between schools and the rest of the community, and I want your help. Think of me as a Schools Whisperer.

Send me your questions about how a school or district works.

Once a week, I’ll tackle a couple on The Learning Curve. I doubt I know the answers to everything, but I’ll enlist schools, universities and other members of the community to help me find them.

Of course, your questions might be so intriguing they’ll lead to full stories or pavement-pounding investigations. The point is, you’ll be driving this thing.

Now, about the questions. They can be fairly simple – perhaps things you’ve wondered about but were too hesitant to ask during parent-teacher conferences. If your child attends San Diego Unified, an example could be, “What does Vision 2020 even mean, man?”

I’ve talked a lot here about parents, but anyone can submit questions, including community members, teachers, principals and administrators. A teacher might like to know why he or she was suddenly asked to change schools; a principal might wonder what happened to the money they were promised in last year’s budget.

The more specific you can be, the better chance we’ll have of finding an answer. In some cases, you might like to keep your name or school out of print. I get it, and can oblige. But it will help me find an answer if I know which school you’re referring to, even if it stays between us.

Of course, things like personnel decisions, a student’s personal information or real estate negotiations are protected by state and federal privacy laws. So I might not be able to tell you exactly why your favorite teacher went away, but I’ll be able to address the question more broadly.

So, send some questions! You can submit them to the Question Box below, email them, or tweet me at #VOSDCurve or @MarioKoran.

So what do you say, San Diego? Let’s have some fun.

Mario Koran

Mario was formerly an investigative reporter for Voice of San Diego. He wrote about schools, children and people on the margins of San Diego.

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