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

New Law Limits Standardized Tests, but Not Prep Work

A student works on math problems in Keith Marquez's summer school geometry class at McAllum High School in Austin, Texas, Jul. 31, 2013.
A student works on math problems in Keith Marquez's summer school geometry class at McAllum High School in Austin, Texas, Jul. 31, 2013.

House Bill 5, which reduced standardized testing in public high schools, also included a provision aimed at easing the pressure of high-stakes exams for students in lower grades. But it may not be having the intended effect.

 

  

Abbott Campaign: Pre-K Plan Does Not Mean More Tests

Attorney General Greg Abbott promoting his pre-kindergarten education proposal on April 2, 2014, at the IDEA Carver Academy in San Antonio.
Attorney General Greg Abbott promoting his pre-kindergarten education proposal on April 2, 2014, at the IDEA Carver Academy in San Antonio.

After questions were raised about language in a policy proposal that appears to call for the biannual testing of pre-kindergarten students, Greg Abbott’s campaign is clarifying his early education plan, saying he is not calling for such tests.

 

 

Patrick, Now in Driver's Seat, Credits Grass Roots

State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, speaks to supporters in Houston after primary election results indicate he is heading into a runoff with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.
State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, speaks to supporters in Houston after primary election results indicate he is heading into a runoff with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

State Sen. Dan Patrick has credited his success to grassroots support. But the Houston Republican's momentum has also been built on lessons learned navigating the old-school politics of Harris County.

Patrick and Castro Will Face-off April 15

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, a Democrat, and State Sen. Dan Patrick, a Republican who is running for lieutenant governor, are set to debate immigration policy in Castro's hometown on April 15.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, a Democrat, and State Sen. Dan Patrick, a Republican who is running for lieutenant governor, are set to debate immigration policy in Castro's hometown on April 15.

State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro have finalized plans to face-off over immigration policy and border security on April 15.