Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams told senators Tuesday that the state intends to move forward with developing an A through F public school accountability rating system to take effect in 2014.Full Story
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.
When it comes to high-stakes testing, Texas lawmakers have so far focused most of their attention on high school students. But as more than 3 million students across the state begin to take standardized exams this week, some members of the Legislature are examining the plight of younger test-takers.Full Story
As state Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin, detailed his objections to House Bill 5 on Tuesday, what he did not mention is that whether students enroll in challenging courses and the number of state exams they must take could affect his livelihood.Full Story
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.Full Story
As House lawmakers prepare for their first major education policy debate, they have pre-filed 165 amendments. Supporters of reform say the current system is too restrictive, but opponents worry proposed changes could reverse advancements.
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.Full Story
When the state closes a decade's worth of testing under the TAKS exams in April, it will mark the end of a period that saw students’ scores on the standardized tests soar. But that success hasn't translated to improvement on national measures.
At SXSWedu, reporter Morgan Smith discusses ways to keep schools safe with Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas; Texas Association of School Boards attorney Joy Baskin; Texas School Safety Center Director Victoria Calder and Barbara Beto, the Texas PTA's legislative action chairwoman.Full Story
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.Full Story
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.Full Story
House Bill 300 from state Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, would allow local school boards to opt out of most state regulations to set their own accountability goals.Full Story
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.Full Story
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told Texas senators on Wednesday "to go big or go home" when it comes to pushing changes to public education policy.Full Story
Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday voiced his support for revamping the state's newly implemented student assessment system.Full Story