KALONA, Iowa — The sickly sweet smell of cocoa and cooked sugar hangs in the air at Kalona Chocolates, also known as 15-year-old Whitney Hershberger's math class.
At the moment, her teachers are in the back room pouring a thick caramel and pecan mix into cooking pans as the bespectacled teen smiles from behind a cash register at the customer who walks in the front door.
Whitney is a homeschool student in what now is a state with some of the most lax homeschool laws in the country.
For homeschool advocates, rollbacks on homeschool regulation in Gov. Terry Branstad's 2013 education reform bill were a resounding victory that made Iowa a model for the nation.