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Resource ID: #25818
Source:El Paso Times
For more than a year, Zahira Torres overcame obstacle after obstacle to document one of the worst school cheating scandals in the nation's history. Where other cheating scandals involved altering accountability tests, the El Paso Independent School District gamed the state and federal accountability systems by targeting Mexican immigrant students. In a number of cases, district officials refused to enroll students or pushed out students already enrolled -- denying countless students their constitutional right to an education. In other cases, they arbitrarily reclassified grade levels or altered transcripts, all in an attempt to keep students out of the testing pool. Torres' reporting sparked numerous results. The superintendent who masterminded the scheme went to federal prison. The state education agency removed the school board. And when Torres' reporting documented that the state was aware of details of the cheating in 2010 and cleared the district anyway, the new education commissioner ordered an independent investigation of how the agency missed the cheating.