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.
Under a major new Obama administration initiative promoting early education, Texas is eligible for $308 million in federal money to fund full-day pre-kindergarten programs. But the money might never get here.
For parents and educators who want less classroom time spent on state exams, hopes rest on recently passed legislation, but it comes with a challenge: Texas likely must first obtain waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
An extended drama over a controversial curriculum tool used by Texas public schools took a new turn Wednesday as Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst entered the fray with a letter to the State Board of Education and Senate Education Chairman Dan Patrick pushed to add the issue to the special session agenda.
UPDATED: The State Board of Education will take up the issue of whether school districts can continue to use lessons from a controversial state curriculum system at its September meeting. And the Texas Attorney General's office, along with Education Chairman Dan Patrick, has requested an official state audit of the program.
Attorney General Greg Abbott's story of adversity has the potential to resonate deeply with voters. But in the past, it has exposed him to criticism from those who say he has battered the legal protections he benefited from for political gain.
After a report from the State Auditor's Office pointed out flaws in the Texas Education Agency's oversight of a $462 million testing contract, the agency said Tuesday it will "immediately" implement new monitoring guidelines.
As educators welcome the coming changes in state testing requirements, some school districts are looking ahead at another part of recently passed education reform. The state is expanding the courses that will count toward a high school diploma.
UPDATED: With a vote of 19-11, the Senate on Friday night sent controversial abortion legislation to Gov. Rick Perry. While the crowd outside of the chamber chanted, there were none of the eruptions inside that helped kill the abortion bill in the first special session.
When state Sen. Dan Patrick endorsed Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid last year, it helped turn the two men from sometime-rivals into allies. But now, Patrick has become Dewhurst’s fiercest critic among the field of candidates hoping to unseat him.
by Morgan Smith, The Texas Tribune and Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post 21
Wendy Davis came off the Senate floor early Wednesday as the national Democratic Party's newest star. But what effect her 11-hour filibuster to stop abortion legislation will have on her political prospects in Texas is an open question.
Your evening reading: lawmakers fight against the clock to pass abortion and transportation funding legislation; Pitts files resolution to impeach UT regent; Abbott talks about the accident that paralyzed him in a new campaign ad.