The Afternoons with Amos PODCAST for Wednesday, May 27, 2015 featured live in-depth interviews with two key Indiana lawmakers on some issues critical to Indiana and the country. Afternoons with Amos talked with Senator Joe Donnelly and 4th District Congressman Rep. Todd Rokita. It was the first interview with Rokita on Afternoons with Amos since 2007. He appeared because of his role as Chair of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, which is considering replacement legislation for No Child Left Behind. The interview with Senator Donnelly (Which Starts At 01:21 on the PODCAST Media Player) was wide ranging on a number of key issues. Most critical is the fact that the Patriot Act expires at Midnight on Sunday, May 31st. Without an extension the parts of the Patriot Act that allow for American law enforcement and intelligence to keep tabs on potential terrorist groups like ISIS would evaporate. In Sen. Donnelly’s words “We would do dark”. There’s an impasse among liberal Democrats and Conservative Republicans over civil liberties and surveillance issues in the Act that’s holding up agreement.
Sen. Donnelly is concerned there no move for even simple extensions. Donnelly said he’s ready to return to Washington immediately to take the vote. Sen. Donnelly also talked about his continuing efforts to help veterans. He’s working with Republican Senator Joni Ernst on the Community Provider Readiness Recognition Act that is part of Donnelly’s efforts to improve access to community care for service personnel in Indiana and throughout the nation. It’s part of Donnelly’s tireless efforts for service members and veterans. Also in the interview, Sen. Donnelly talked about working with Republicans like the Senate’s only Black member, Republican Sen. Tim Scott on legislation to provide consumer information to students on their student loan borrowing. Sen. Donnelly also discussed a number of other issues with Amos and listeners including Donnelly’s concerns about the just passed trade bill. Donnelly is worried the bill will continue to hurt Hoosier jobs. Donnelly condemned the “dumping of steel” at below market prices, which has caused US Steel in NW Indiana to layoff 3,000 workers this year. Sen. Donnelly also talked about raising the minimum wage, farm economy and much more.
He was followed by Rep. Todd Rokita. (Starts At The 49:40 Mark of the PODCAST Media Player) The former Indiana Secretary of State and the person who invented Voter ID, is chair of the key House Subcommittee on educational policy. A strong conservative, Rokita is involved in the effort to rewrite No Child Left Behind. His legislation, called the Student Success Act (SSA) would maintain the data keeping requirements of No Child, especially efforts to see how poor children, minorities, including African-Americans are doing in school. But the SSA would place greater flexibility on states and local school and school boards to determine accountability and achievement. The bill would mandate testing in scence, math and reading in grades 3 to 8 and but local communities and states would determine the type of testing. Adequate Yearly Progress benchmarks would be ended. But, says Rokita, civil rights protects for students would be maintained.
The interview also talked about Rokita’s views on choice and how the proposed SSA legislation would deal with that, improving parental communication with schools. Listeners also weighed in with the issue of school violence and how to motivate students for whom perhaps college wasn’t their cup of tea. It was a revealing interview with one of the key Federal lawmakers setting education policy in the Republican controlled House as the discussion talked about putting more control of education policy at the local level; rather than the Federal level. The interview and discussion talked including talking about how to grow and develop more locally run charter schools, instead of those dependent on national chains or charter operators. In discussing the role of Head Start in expanding opportunities for quality Pre-Kindergarten, Rep. Rokita threw out that maybe Head Start dollars should be transferable to parents, so they can have a choice to use those dollars to enroll their children in other quality Pre-K options other than Head Start. The May 27, 2015 Afternoons with Amos PODCAST Runs 94 Minutes ©2015 WTLC/Radio One. PODCAST Begins Right After Brief Video Ad. [theplatform account=”BCY3OC” media=”b7D0bDVvzqbE” player=”xFJXq1diB1tB”]