Blake Neff of the Daily Caller highlights a sad story involving the once-heralded Atlanta public school system.

Eleven former teachers in Atlanta’s public school system each face up to 20 years in prison after being convicted Wednesday on racketeering charges for their role in one of the largest cheating scandals in U.S. history.

The convictions bring an end to the sad, sordid saga of Atlanta Public Schools, which earned praise as some of the most rapidly-improving in the nation until a state investigation exposed systematic cheating on standardized tests.

Prosecutors described the convictions as a victory for Atlanta’s children.

“We’ve been fighting for the children in our community, particularly those children who were deprived by this cheating scandal,” Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said, according to CNN.

For most of the 2000s, Atlanta schools were showered with praise for making rapid gains in test scores. From 2002 to 2009, the district’s reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (a federal standardized test) grew faster than in any other urban area. In 2009, Superintendent Beverly Hall was honored as the country’s Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators.

That same year, however, the charade collapsed. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation noted statistically unlikely shifts in the district’s test scores, including massive surges and drops from year to year at some schools. This in turn prompted a state investigation that discovered the existence of a districtwide conspiracy to cheat on tests, mostly by altering students’ answers after they’d finished their exams. More than 40 schools were found to have had some cheating, and close to 200 personnel were implicated.