Terry Branstad's education reforms are dead, or rather, scheduled to die by task force. The result is not unexpected: large-scale reforms, especially when proposed outside of the legislative process, are always in trouble. In this case, the reform plan had plenty for Republicans and Democrats to hate. Republicans hated the price tag – that the plan would cost between $100 and $200 million is not surprising. What is surprising is that anyone thought Republicans, who wanted to eliminate K-12 state funding increases for the next two years, would go for this. Similiarly, the reforms are an effort to wrest control away from the teacher's unions, and who thought that the Democrats would go for that? The great paradox for Republicans is to support teachers without supporting unions, but teachers, for understandable reasons, don't trust school boards or principals.
I am not clear what Governor Branstad hoped for when he started this process. He couldn't have gotten this package passed with an all-Republican legislature or an all-Democratic legislature. It is hard to imagine, after 25+ years in state govewrnment, that the Governor could not have foreseen this, and hard to imagine what he thought would be accomplished. No matter: for all the drama unfulred, the ink spilled, and the meeting time snoozed due to the great education crusade, the package will now be quietly put to sleep.