Since the story came out, the Houston Chronicle reporter has been interviewed by ProPublica & the Education Writers Association (most annoying autoplay ever — please turn it off!).  Read too many followups by other outlets to count, over at the paper’s Developments page.

“It’s been crazy, it’s been overwhelming,” said Rosenthal about the response. “This is the by far the most amount of people who have connected with me already. I’ve never done a story like this.”

Sure, the the package includes a searchable database to allow readers to read about local schools. Other data provided include the percentage of kids in special education by state from 1995 to 2014 and the percentage of kids in special education in biggest U.S. school districts. Get it all here. There are also some lovely pictures and video.

But all that’s pretty standard at this point. So what’s made this such a big story? It’s got everything: mystery and drama, size and scope, sympathetic victims and bureaucratic bad guys. And as this map shows, variations in declining SPED services aren’t just a Texas thing:

The piece is also unusual in that so many kids’ lives have been affected. The difference between the 13 percent national average and the state average is under 9 percent. Every percentage point change in special ed students represents 50,000 Texas kids per year, according to Rosenthal.

Here’s Rosenthal talking about the story on a local TV politics show: