AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The judge hearing Texas' sweeping school finance trial has suggested maybe we as a state have been satisfied with mediocrity.

State District Judge John Dietz heard testimony Tuesday from Nabor Cortez, superintendent of La Feria Independent School District in the Rio Grande Valley.

Cortez said students from low-income families have struggled to meet new, more-difficult state standardized tests.

Dietz suggested that, in the past, Texas may have been kind of pushing people through the education factory.

He said tougher standards might help the state's students compete with their counterparts from other countries.

Cortez responded that kids can improve test scores, but only if school districts have proper funding.

The case is expected to continue into January. Dietz will then rule on six lawsuits challenging the way Texas funds its schools.

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