Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday that he has reappointed Mike Morath as Texas' education commissioner, leaving it up to the state Senate to confirm Morath for a new four-year term.
Morath, a former Dallas ISD board member with a background in finance, has headed the Texas Education Agency since Jan. 4, 2016, overseeing Texas' schools through a federal investigation on special education, the switch to a new school rating system, a massive natural disaster and deadly school shootings. If confirmed, he would serve until Jan. 16, 2023.
His most high-profile challenge has been cleaning up a past administration's mess on educating students with disabilities. After a lengthy investigation, federal officials found last January the state had effectively been capping the number of students eligible for special education, violating federal law. In a hasty attempt to fix the problem, the TEA issued a no-bid contract for a data mining project, which it pulled after loud protests from parents — losing the state millions of dollars.
Morath is now spearheading a multimillion-dollar reorganization of special education in the state, working to get school districts the resources they need to identify which students need additional services and which have been erroneously left out of special education for years.