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.
Studying technology's impact on higher education and evaluating public school students' writing scores on state assessments are among the tasks Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst gave lawmakers in education-related interim charges Thursday.Full Story
Empower Texans, one of the state's most aggressive conservative advocacy groups, has invested a combined $500,000 in two statewide Republican primary races in the last six months.Full Story
A new PAC will allow Texans for Education Reform, which became a lobbying powerhouse during the 2013 legislative session, to put resources toward candidates for office.Full Story
To go along with news Monday that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst received the endorsements of three major Texas homebuilders organizations, his re-election campaign released a video celebrating his support of low government regulations.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst fielded an attack Monday from state Sen. Dan Patrick for failing to appoint a new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, saying the delay has prevented the committee from tackling the work it needs to do before the 2015 legislative session.Full Story
A new direction for standardized testing, expansion for charter schools, No Child Left Behind jettisoned and the aftermath of a cheating scandal: 2013 was a significant year for Texas public education policy.Full Story
Texas will shut down campuses at six charter schools under a new law that includes heightened financial and academic performance rules.Full Story
When schools turn to private entities for management, the arrangement can raise questions about how best to ensure financial accountability.Full Story
All four Republican candidates vying for lieutenant governor said at a Thursday debate that religion should play a larger role in public education — and three said they believed that should include the teaching of creationism.Full Story
One of the really interesting things about this election cycle is watching the big boys under the Dome — the trade associations — pick whom to back in the crowded fields of GOP contenders for statewide office.Full Story
Texas gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott held back from taking a position on private school vouchers or state education funding during a Wednesday appearance at a San Antonio charter school.Full Story
Emphasizing her support for public schools could be a path to a competitive gubernatorial race for Democrat Wendy Davis. But with an education policy rollout planned of his own, Republican Greg Abbott has made clear he is not ready to let her dominate the issue.Full Story