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.
In the second year of a new school accountability system, nine out of 10 Texas districts met state standards, according to ratings released by the Texas Education Agency on Friday. The 2014 ratings show a slight decline from last year.Full Story
In December, the Texas Education Agency moved to shutter six charter school operators under a new law. Nearly 10 months later, three of those schools remain open — fighting a process they say is overly simplistic.Full Story
As Texas education officials announced the third year of record-breaking high school graduation rates on Tuesday, critics continued to raise questions about the method the state uses to calculate them.Full Story
Many unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central America remain in Texas, and public school administrators face the challenge of providing an education for them.Full Story
Hey, Texplainer: If high school students take AP U.S. history, does that mean they are studying Common Core? Wouldn't that be illegal in Texas?Full Story
Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams told federal education officials the state would take an additional year to pilot a new teacher evaluation system based in part on student standardized test performance.
UPDATED: Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams told State Board of Education members Wednesday that said that when he approved a charter school's expansion into the Dallas area, he was following the spirit of a 2013 law.Full Story
Stacked up against other states, Texas public schools could win the best-bang-for-your-buck competition. The state spends less than most others, and its students perform better than many. But the commitment to fiscal restraint has come with its own burdens for teachers.
Over the last decade, Texas students have made steady progress on a number of academic measures. But in recent years, that improvement has begun to stall.Full Story
State legislatures are scrambling to renounce Common Core standards as a grassroots movement builds against them. But their most vocal and earliest opponent was Texas.
Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams has effectively overruled a vote by the State Board of Education to deny an Arizona-based charter school's expansion into the Dallas area.Full Story
Almost 20 percent of rising high school seniors in Texas are at risk of not earning their diplomas on time because they haven't passed one or more of five required exams.
Inadequate supervision from the state has led to "grossly deficient" English language instruction for Texas public school students, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.Full Story
The next step in nearly two years of litigation over the troubled Texas school finance system is a hearing on whether District Court Judge John Dietz should recuse himself from the case.