Whether they have a longstanding interest or are branching into new territory, some of the state's top political donors advocate for education issues. Use our interactive to track contributions to lawmakers who make decisions affecting Texas schools.Full Story
Morgan Smith reports on politics and education for the Tribune, which she joined in November 2009. She writes about the effects of the state budget, school finance reform, accountability and testing in Texas public schools. Her political coverage has included congressional and legislative races, as well as Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign, which she followed to Iowa and New Hampshire. In 2013, she received a National Education Writers Association award for "Death of a District," a series on school closures. After earning a bachelor's degree in English from Wellesley College, she moved to Austin in 2008 to enter law school at the University of Texas. A San Antonio native, her work has also appeared in Slate, where she spent a year as an editorial intern in Washington D.C.
After two days of deliberations that culminated Thursday evening with a closed-door meeting with Capitol lobbyists and staff from the governor's office, it appears leaders in the House and Senate have reached a deal on two high-priority education bills.Full Story
UPDATED: Sen. Royce West's proposal for a special statewide school district to manage underperforming campuses will have to find another lifeboat. The Dallas Democrat has removed the bill from the legislation he had attached it to after it died in the House.Full Story
The next four days will probably be the most critical period in determining the fate of the session's major education bills, which address standardized testing and curriculum requirements, as well as charter school expansion.
Elementary and middle school students will take fewer standardized exams under legislation approved by the state Senate on Tuesday — if Texas can get a waiver from the federal government.
Senate Education Chairman Dan Patrick announced on Monday that CSCOPE, the state's curriculum delivery system, would no longer offer lesson plans to Texas school districts.Full Story
Police officers, oil and gas pipeline inspectors, news photographers, and movie producers may now all have access to drone footage under certain conditions in language added to legislation banning the use of unmanned aerial vehicles as it passed the Texas Senate.Full Story
UPDATED: A measure targeting a Turkish charter school network was added to major legislation from Senate Education Chairman Dan Patrick that would increase the number of publicly funded, privately operated schools as it passed the Texas House on Thursday, 105-34.Full Story
Medicaid providers would have clearer due process rights during fraud investigations under a measure the House gave tentative approval to on Wednesday.
At the start of the legislative session, bills that would strengthen the state's charter school system, overhaul teaching requirements and address accountability for underperforming school districts were a top priority for many advocacy groups and some lawmakers. Use our interactive to track their progress.Full Story
UPDATED: A divisive measure requiring the disclosure of certain unreported political donors passed the House on a 95-52 vote on Tuesday with little of Monday's debate. The measure now heads to Gov. Rick Perry.
Raise Your Hand Texas has been a key player this session, impacting bills like Sen. Dan Patrick's charter school legislation. The advocacy organization's influence in policy negotiations has won it both respect and exasperation in education circles.Full Story
A state district judge ruled Wednesday in favor of cheerleaders at an East Texas high school in their national headline-grabbing lawsuit to display religious messages during athletic events.Full Story
As major charter school legislation awaits consideration in the House, school choice supporters gathered at a Capitol rally to hear from several lawmakers, including Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston.Full Story
The Senate version of House Bill 5, which it approved Monday, still allows students to complete diplomas in specialized areas, or "endorsements." But it changes the courses required to graduate under those endorsements.Full Story