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

High School Curriculum Bill Headed to Senate Floor

Sen. Dan Patrick R-Houston, listens to debate on SB1380 which relates to placement of video monitoring cameras in certain classrooms were students receive special services on April 4th, 2013
Sen. Dan Patrick R-Houston, listens to debate on SB1380 which relates to placement of video monitoring cameras in certain classrooms were students receive special services on April 4th, 2013

At a hearing Tuesday, Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, slammed national media coverage of the Legislature's effort to change high school diploma requirements and reduce high-stakes exams.

TEA Advisory Panels Didn't Recommend A-F School Ratings

Texas Education Agency commissioner Michael Williams announces at a press conference that he is stripping all authority from the El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees. The move comes in the wake of a cheating scandal that landed the former superintendent in federal prison.
Texas Education Agency commissioner Michael Williams announces at a press conference that he is stripping all authority from the El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees. The move comes in the wake of a cheating scandal that landed the former superintendent in federal prison.

Two Texas Education Agency advisory panels opposed a plan to move the state to an A through F school ratings system, a plan that Education Commissioner Michael Williams announced Tuesday.

Williams Certifies Ban on Social Promotion

Texas Education Agency commissioner Michael Williams announces at a press conference that he is stripping all authority from the El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees. The move comes in the wake of a cheating scandal that landed the former superintendent in federal prison.
Texas Education Agency commissioner Michael Williams announces at a press conference that he is stripping all authority from the El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees. The move comes in the wake of a cheating scandal that landed the former superintendent in federal prison.

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams announced Tuesday that there is enough money in the state education budget allocated to remedial tutoring, which means a ban on social promotion can take affect.

House Approves New Approach to High School Graduation

Rep. Donna Howard D-Austin, questions Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock R-Killeen during HB5 debate on March 26th, 2013
Rep. Donna Howard D-Austin, questions Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock R-Killeen during HB5 debate on March 26th, 2013

UPDATED: Debate over the balance between rigor and flexibility in high school graduation requirements dominated Tuesday’s discussion over education legislation that eventually legislators in the Texas House tentatively approved.

A Test for Education — and for Texas Businesses

Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock R-Killeen during a public education committee hearing on February 19th, 2013
Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock R-Killeen during a public education committee hearing on February 19th, 2013
Texas Weekly

When the House takes up its first major education policy bill on the floor Tuesday, it could provide an indication of where the battle lines are drawn on an increasingly contentious division within the business community.