Despite the Obama administration's plea for a stay, the U.S. Supreme Court won't stand in the way of Texas' plans to execute Mexican citizen Humberto Leal Jr. tonight.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.
Gov. Rick Perry has named former science teacher and staunch social conservative Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, to chair the board that oversees the state's public school system.Full Story
Lawmakers have officially made their exit from the Pink Building, leaving two bills that will bring major changes to Texas school districts awaiting the governor's signature. Lawmakers, meanwhile, are wondering whether and how the two measures will play in next year's elections.Full Story
Lawmakers must wrap up the special session on Wednesday, with a few outstanding priorities left to tackle. Here's a rundown of where the Texas Legislature stands going into the second-to-last day of the special session.Full Story
During the Senate's afternoon recess, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst offered his thoughts on the special session's unanswered questions on sanctuary cities legislation, the TWIA compromise and the chances of coming back in July.Full Story
The special session hasn't done much to alter the school finance plan that dragged lawmakers into overtime.Full Story
An amendment from Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, that would have directed surplus money from the Rainy Day Fund to pay for enrollment growth in public schools has perished in conference committee.Full Story
Gov. Rick Perry’s neon-light promotion on the national stage of the $6 billion left in the Rainy Day Fund exposes a disconnect with the conservative lawmakers battling for his principles at home, where his party is working to divert negative public sentiment about the deep budget reductions.Full Story
The Tribune counts down to the end of the special session with updates on where the major issues added to the agenda by Gov. Rick Perry stand.
When the national spotlight turns to Texas public education, it's often not flattering. But schools in the state ruled Newsweek's annual Best High School List — including two Dallas ISD magnets that claimed the top spots.
After public resistance from Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Empower Texans, an Austin-based conservative activist group, voters in a suburban Fort Worth school district turned down a 13-cent local tax hike over the weekend.Full Story
The 82nd Legislature delivered a fatal whack to state grants for full-day pre-kindergarten. But some public schools are refusing to let the budgetary machete finish off their early childhood programs, choosing instead to charge tuition to students.Full Story
When the Senate passed her two signature education bills, Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, made an effort to keep her colleagues from weighing them down with extra amendments. The lower chamber took a different approach.Full Story
Across the state, school districts are considering raises local taxes to pay for the state shortfall in funding. But will the same public that sent lawmakers to Austin in November with an overwhelming no-new-taxes imperative accept paying more locally to preserve programs and jobs?Full Story
Updated: A revised version of Rep. Rob Eissler's class size bill, which expands the Texas Education Agency's authority to grant waivers, quickly clears the House.Full Story