Finance Expert Testifies in Kansas School Case

Courtney Williams's picture
Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The second week of a trial over the way Kansas funds its public schools opened Monday with testimony from a Rutgers University expert who said a “suitable education” involves more than just proficiency in math and reading.

Bruce Baker, formerly of the University of Kansas, said students also need to have the skills to succeed in higher education or in the labor force, and classrooms must be properly equipped to teach them. For example, he said, technology isn’t necessary just for college-bound students but those who will pursue careers in farming.

“There’s a lot more stuff going into the physical space” where students are taught, he said. “The complexity of what goes into the physical space isn’t what it used to be.”

Baker was the first witness called Monday by lawyers for school districts suing the state in Shawnee County District Court. The districts contend they get don’t enough money to satisfy the state constitution’s mandate for providing a “suitable education.”

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