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

Sweeping Effort to Expand Charter Schools Faces Hurdles

Education consultant and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, l, visits with Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, before the Senate Education Committee on Feb. 27, 2013.
Education consultant and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, l, visits with Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, before the Senate Education Committee on Feb. 27, 2013.

Sen. Dan Patrick's Senate Bill 2 is the most ambitious attempt to expand the state’s charter school system since it was established in 1995. It will have to pass a Legislature that defeated more modest proposals two years ago.

Patrick Presents Details of Tax Credit Scholarship Plan

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Sen. Dan Patrick R-Houston, during press conference to discuss education reform in Texas including school choice.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Sen. Dan Patrick R-Houston, during press conference to discuss education reform in Texas including school choice.

State Sen. Dan Patrick has filed legislation to create an Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program, which would allow economically disadvantaged and at-risk students who attend public schools to transfer to private schools.

Senate Panel Approves More Money for Public Schools

August 29th Senate Committee on Finance with newly appointed Chair Sen. Tommy Williams R-The Woodlands
August 29th Senate Committee on Finance with newly appointed Chair Sen. Tommy Williams R-The Woodlands

A panel of senators voted Thursday to put $1.5 billion in additional public school funding in the state's two-year budget. That includes more money for pre-kindergarten programs, the state's Virtual School Network and Teach for America.

Reducing School Tests Draws Support in Hearing

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

More than 100 witnesses signed up to testify before the House Public Education Committee Tuesday on a massive bill restructuring student testing, graduation requirements and the public school accountability system in the state.

Texas Senators Slam State's Testing Regime

Airplane buzzed over the Capitol during the lunch hour with banner from the Texas Association of Business asking "Is 37 % correct on algebra too hard?"
Airplane buzzed over the Capitol during the lunch hour with banner from the Texas Association of Business asking "Is 37 % correct on algebra too hard?"

State senators took turns publicly condemning Texas' student assessment system — the implementation of which one lawmaker called a "colossal failure" —  at a Tuesday Education Committee meeting.