For their part, Torres and the Times have won awards from Governing magazine and the Education Writers Association. Torres recently received the Charles E. Green Investigative Report award, and the paper swept the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors’ honors. Even as she adjusts from sunny Austin to the snow still flying in Denver, Torres says that the awards are appreciated, but there’s still more work to be done on the story. And the Times, she says, is probably going to keep after it, perhaps by looking at cheating scandals elsewhere.

“I looked at it and thought, ‘How could this happen? They were in the business to educate children and to try to move them forward and this was the exact opposite,” she says. “Awards are nice and it brings attention to the issue, but I think more importantly these were kids who got kicked out of the system who didn’t get a proper education.”

 

Richard Parker is CJR's Texas correspondent. A regular contributor to the Op-Ed section of The New York Times, his columns on national and international affairs are syndicated by McClatchy-Tribune. He has also twice been appointed the visiting professional in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow him on Twitter @Richard85Parker.