INDIANAPOLIS - Emails obtained by The Associated Press show a small group of Republican powerbrokers crafted Indiana's landmark education reform legislation in private meetings throughout 2010.
The following excerpts show how their plan grew from banter over Scotch at an Indianapolis steakhouse to landmark education law:
-- Nov. 4, 2008: Tony Bennett wins election as Indiana's schools superintendent, largely with the help of Todd Huston, Al Hubbard and other allies of Gov. Mitch Daniels.
-- Feb. 10-11, 2010: Huston, Hubbard and Indianapolis businessman Mark Miles lay out the general strategy for winning education reform following a lunch meeting. Their chief concerns included figuring out timing and when their plan should be handed off to Daniels.
-- Feb. 17-18, 2010: Huston, Hubbard and Miles meet for dinner and drinks at Fleming's, an Indianapolis steakhouse, and bring Daniels confidant Mark Lubbers into their tight-knit circle. They consider adding higher education to the mix for the 2011 agenda and ponder breaking apart the state's regional college campuses.
-- Feb. 19-21, 2010: Huston outlines the first draft of the agenda, considering how to pitch ideas like school vouchers and teacher merit pay without angering too many people. The group also discusses who else to draw into their circle.
-- March 18, 2010: The group expands to include Daniels friend and school board member David Shane and Lubbers' wife, Indiana Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers. They begin dividing work during a meeting at a private Indianapolis club. Hubbard is tasked with reaching out to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for model legislation.
-- March 23, 2010: Daniels' education adviser, Scott Jenkins, finds out the group has been meeting and takes offense at having been left out.
-- July 9, 2010: The 2011 education agenda is drafted by DOE staffers.
-- July 26, 2010: Hubbard outlines strategy for winning support in public, in the Legislature and in the elections.
-- Nov. 2, 2010: Republicans pick up 12 seats and control of the Indiana House of Representatives. Of the 17 candidates Hoosiers for Economic Growth donated to, 16 eventually voted in favor of the education plan.
-- Dec. 8, 2010: Indiana Department of Education releases agenda at a meeting of the state's Education Roundtable.
-- Jan. 11, 2011: Daniels highlights education agenda in State of the State speech.
-- May 5, 2011: Daniels signs plan into law at Statehouse ceremony.
-- Nov. 7, 2012: Bennett loses re-election, in large part over teacher anger at education reforms passed in 2011.
-- Aug. 1, 2013: Bennett resigns as Florida education chief following AP report on changes to school-grading formula made for Republican donor's charter school.