Spare a thought for David Gonski. The well-regarded businessman and Chancellor of the University of NSW was drafted in 2010 by the Gillard government to unpick Australia's decrepit, illogical and ad hoc school funding system to come up with a better way.
Even his impressive credentials in the law and investment banking must surely have been tested by the task.
School funding, last properly reviewed circa 1973, is a tangled web of financial intrigue involving ancient deals negotiated between the Commonwealth, states and territories and underpinned by a dizzying array of financial incentives, anomalies, bribes, threats and add-ons that attach themselves during the political cycle.
Add in the class wars between the government and non-government school sectors and the review process not only becomes complicated, but highly emotional. So it was with some relief that Gonski's long-awaited 300-page blueprint sensibly suggested throwing the old system out and starting again.
He wants each of the country's 3.5 million students enrolled in 6750 government schools and 2720 non-government schools to receive a simple minimum ''schooling resource standard'' topped up by loadings for children from disadvantaged or indigenous backgrounds and for those who have a disability. Placing students at the centre of the new system, calling schools and governments to account and expecting a serious rise in slipping standards are strong features of the brand new approach.
In keeping with the Gillard government's promise that no private school will find itself on a Mark Latham-style ''hit list'', nor lose a single dollar's worth of funding, Gonski has dutifully recommended that every private school student receive a public contribution of no less than 20-25 per cent of the resource standard. The government has committed to full indexation of any new system.
The final report, unveiled to stakeholders yesterday in departmental briefings while Gonski faced the media at Parliament House, brought relief for non-government schools and their parent bodies - all of whom were bracing for a funding cut and fee hikes.
Gonski's call for an additional $5 billion in funding to bring all schools up to standard, bridge the widening educational gap between the haves and the have-nots, and to place Australia on a more competitive international footing, was also wholeheartedly welcomed by the government sector and its unions.
But Gonski's heart must have sunk in his chest as he watched Schools Minister Peter Garrett and Prime Minister Julia Gillard dissemble on the issue of funding.
Not only did both refuse to give a commitment to any of the $5 billion price tag, but the official four-page government response to the report also rebuffed Gonski's recommendation that more investment in capital works was required. It seems the Building the Education Revolution has already built everything that needs building.
Gillard had a lot on her mind yesterday - namely making it through the week as PM. But should she keep the job until May 8, its clear that a surplus trumps an Education Revolution. Her performance yesterday undermined the backbreaking work Gonski and his panel have put into their review. And for a community expecting action after nearly two years (and 7000 submissions) of hard yakka, it was a major let down.
Gillard has outlined an agonising timeline of economic modelling, COAG screaming matches, and lobbying as the government undertakes more ''consultation''. It could take another two years.
All anybody ever wanted was to actually move forward.