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

Texas Schools Look to Advertising to Fill Budget Gaps

Eanes ISD school bus mechanic Chase Roberts washes the dirt off the advertising on Eanes ISD school buses in Westlake, Texas Tuesday February 14, 2012.
Eanes ISD school bus mechanic Chase Roberts washes the dirt off the advertising on Eanes ISD school buses in Westlake, Texas Tuesday February 14, 2012.

Texas school districts are getting into the advertising game as they look for ways to make ends meet after major state budget cuts. But some researchers question whether schools fully grasp the consequences of creeping commercialism.

Scott vs. The World

Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott answers questions at TASA midwinter conference in Austin, Texas February 1st, 2011
Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott answers questions at TASA midwinter conference in Austin, Texas February 1st, 2011
Texas Weekly

Texas Education Agency commissioner Robert Scott touched off political controversy this week when he told a gathering of 4,000 school officials in Austin that standardized testing had gone too far in Texas.

Texas Schools Chief: Testing Has Gone Too Far

Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott speaks at the TASA midwinter conference in Austin, Texas February 1st, 2011
Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott speaks at the TASA midwinter conference in Austin, Texas February 1st, 2011

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Robert Scott received a standing ovation today after he told a gathering of public school educators that the state testing system has become a "perversion of its original intent."

Slideshow: A School Without Sports

Premont High School cheerleader Stacy Morales. 17 and student basketball team member Ernesto Gonzalez leave the gym after Tuesday's game.
Premont High School cheerleader Stacy Morales. 17 and student basketball team member Ernesto Gonzalez leave the gym after Tuesday's game.

In a state where the football field is hallowed turf, Premont ISD has suspended all athletics — including football — to improve its struggling finances. 

South Texas District Suspends Sports to Keep Afloat

The Premont High School Cowboys beat the Hebronville Longhorns 44 to 39 in Tuesday's game which was the last basketball game for Premont.  Premont ISD is terminating its athletics programs to save money and focus on academics as it tries to meet drastic improvements required by the state.
The Premont High School Cowboys beat the Hebronville Longhorns 44 to 39 in Tuesday's game which was the last basketball game for Premont. Premont ISD is terminating its athletics programs to save money and focus on academics as it tries to meet drastic improvements required by the state.

In a daring and rare move in a state where the football field is hallowed turf, a superindent has suspended all athletics to help his South Texas district improve its struggling finances.