|Description||Despite multiple school reform efforts in recent
years, none has considered the impact of the structure of
the Iowa Education governance system on what happens in
schools. This qualitative study investigated
organizational roles and the relationships between Area
Education Agencies, The State Board/State Department of
Education, local school boards and their districts,
institutions of higher education, and the State
Legislature. Knowledgeable informants were also asked for
recommendations on how to improve the system.
The findings were organized first by organization and
then by entire system. The discussion of these findings
interwoven with the literature indicated several factors
which impact the system and its future. Iowa highly valued
local control yet education was becoming an increasingly
important part of state politics. There was a lack
collaboration across the system. No person, or
organization, was responsible for the system as a whole.
There was no clear answer on how to best redesign the
system, but there were clues on where to begin.
Three broad conclusions were drawn. First, the system
had developed over decades, but with no real direction for
interorganizational collaboration. Second, increased
system alignment was valued, but it may not be a solution.
Third, a deep belief in local control was juxtaposed with
the support of a centrally controlled system. while Iowa's
system was working, it was not clear that all pieces of the
system were needed as they were currently constructed.||en