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

Land Board to Transfer $300 Million to School Fund

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson discusses Texas historical records that document early immigrants like Davy Crockett and Stephen F. Austin.
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson discusses Texas historical records that document early immigrants like Davy Crockett and Stephen F. Austin.

The School Land Board voted Tuesday to release $300 million into the Available School Fund for public schools. The funds had been caught in a standoff between the Legislature and the board, whose members include Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.

School Finance Trial Will Make Mark On 83rd Legislature

Texas Weekly

A final decision in the school finance trial against the state involving more than two-thirds of its districts and charter schools likely won’t happen until after the lights go out in the 83rd Legislature. But that doesn’t mean what’s happening inside of the courtroom now won’t have an impact on policy under the pink dome.

To Beef Up School Security, Lawmakers Turn to Firearms

Austin Police Officer Cory Ehrler monitors the entrance to Ridgetop Elementary School after classes start on the Monday following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. As the 83rd legislative session approaches, Texas lawmakers are considering making firearms more available to teachers and other school personnel.
Austin Police Officer Cory Ehrler monitors the entrance to Ridgetop Elementary School after classes start on the Monday following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. As the 83rd legislative session approaches, Texas lawmakers are considering making firearms more available to teachers and other school personnel.

Some Texas legislators are emphasizing the need for teachers and other school personnel to have increased access to firearms on campus. Ahead of the 83rd legislative session, bills have been proposed with that mission in mind.

Some Texas Districts Pursuing School Choice Locally

Students entering the classroom at Yes Prep, a public charter school system with 11 campuses serving 7000 students in low income areas of Houston.
Students entering the classroom at Yes Prep, a public charter school system with 11 campuses serving 7000 students in low income areas of Houston.

State leaders are preparing to push for legislation to expand the choices available for Texas' nearly 5 million public school students. Meanwhile, some local districts are already pursuing similar reforms within their own systems.