Morgan Smith Reporter

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.

Recent Contributions

Re-examining High School's Senior Year to Benefit Pre-K

Pre-K students in Josefina Pineda's classroom do the hokey-pokey at the Dallas Independent School District elementary school, Cesar Chavez Learning Center in Dallas, Texas.
Pre-K students in Josefina Pineda's classroom do the hokey-pokey at the Dallas Independent School District elementary school, Cesar Chavez Learning Center in Dallas, Texas.

With the help of a new law, the Dallas Independent School District is designing a program that will funnel money saved when students graduate early into expanding pre-kindergarten offerings.  

Texas School Finance Trial Goes for Round Two

After a trial that lasted more than three months, Judge John Dietz ruled in February that the state's school finance system is unconstitutional.
After a trial that lasted more than three months, Judge John Dietz ruled in February that the state's school finance system is unconstitutional.

After hearing brief arguments on whether to reopen evidence in the school finance case because of laws passed during the legislative session, state district court Judge John Dietz announced Wednesday that a new, six-week trial will begin in January.

"Merry Christmas" Officially Okay in Texas Public Schools

Gov. Rick Perry signs House Bill 308 which allows public school students and staff to use traditional holiday greetings and display religious symbols on school property. He was joined by bill author Rep. Dwayne Bohac R-Houston, Bahac's  son Reagan, Sen. Robert Nichols as well as several Santa's, Rabbi Zev Johnson and cheerleaders from Kountze High School - June 13, 2013.
Gov. Rick Perry signs House Bill 308 which allows public school students and staff to use traditional holiday greetings and display religious symbols on school property. He was joined by bill author Rep. Dwayne Bohac R-Houston, Bahac's son Reagan, Sen. Robert Nichols as well as several Santa's, Rabbi Zev Johnson and cheerleaders from Kountze High School - June 13, 2013.

Flanked by high school cheerleaders, a rabbi and an off-duty SantaGov. Rick Perry ceremonially signed legislation Thursday clarifying that school districts can acknowledge traditional winter celebrations. 

Whatever Became of That School Finance Ruling?

District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin is shown in his courtroom on Feb. 4, 2013, before he ruled that the state's school finance system was unconstitutional.
District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin is shown in his courtroom on Feb. 4, 2013, before he ruled that the state's school finance system was unconstitutional.
Texas Weekly

It’s now June, and there is still no final decision in the sweeping lawsuit involving more than two-thirds of Texas school districts that arose after the Legislature eliminated roughly $5.4 billion from state public education funding in 2011.