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

House Derails Achievement School District Bill

State Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, at the Democratic caucus regarding state budget matters on May 17, 2013.
State Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, at the Democratic caucus regarding state budget matters on May 17, 2013.

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.

Adding Exemptions, Texas Senate Approves Drone Bill

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi engineering student Adam Ersepke and lab coordinator Jack Edward Esparza prepare for the take off of  the University’s RS-16 unmanned aerial vehicle, otherwise known as a drone, for a test flight over the Kennedy Ranch near Sarita, Texas on January 18, 2013.
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi engineering student Adam Ersepke and lab coordinator Jack Edward Esparza prepare for the take off of the University’s RS-16 unmanned aerial vehicle, otherwise known as a drone, for a test flight over the Kennedy Ranch near Sarita, Texas on January 18, 2013.

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. 

Texas House Backs Bill Expanding Charter Schools

State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, spoke Wednesday as Texas charter school supporters rallied at the Texas Capitol to lobby the Legislature for more funding.
State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, spoke Wednesday as Texas charter school supporters rallied at the Texas Capitol to lobby the Legislature for more funding.

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.

In Education Reform Debate, One Group Stands Out

State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, spoke Wednesday as Texas charter school supporters rallied at the Texas Capitol to lobby the Legislature for more funding.
State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, spoke Wednesday as Texas charter school supporters rallied at the Texas Capitol to lobby the Legislature for more funding.

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.