National Memorial to Fallen Educators Act of 2015
STATEMENT OF PEGGY O’DELL, DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR OPERATIONS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING S. 2061 TO DESIGNATE A NATIONAL MEMORIAL TO FALLEN EDUCATORS AT THE NATIONAL TEACHERS HALL OF FAME IN EMPORIA KANSAS.
March 17, 2016
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before your committee to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S. 2061, a bill to designate a National Memorial to Fallen Educators at the National Teachers Hall of Fame in Emporia, Kansas.
The Department of the Interior would defer to the Department of Education for a position on S. 2061 since the purpose of the legislation is to honor teachers. The memorial is located at a site that is not under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior, and this bill does not provide for any management or funding by the National Park Service.
S. 2061 would designate a national memorial to fallen educators at the National Teachers Hall of Fame in Emporia, Kansas. The memorial is intended to recognize teachers who not only dedicated their lives to teaching, but were sadly taken from us while “in the line of duty.” The National Teachers Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization that annually honors five school teachers who demonstrate exceptional commitment and dedication to teaching. The Hall of Fame was founded in 1989, by Emporia State University (ESU), the ESU Alumni Association, the City of Emporia, Emporia Public Schools, and the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce. On June 13, 2013, the National Teachers Hall of Fame broke ground to build a memorial for the teachers that have fallen in the "line of duty."
This legislation explicitly states that this memorial is not a unit of the National Park System. However, the use of the title “national memorial” creates a reasonable expectation among the general public that the memorial must have an affiliation with the National Park Service, which currently administers 30 national memorials across the country. This is not the first time this issue has arisen, nor is it likely to be the last, and the Department respectfully encourages only the most thoughtful and judicious designation of any future “national” memorials or other similar sites.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I would be happy to answer any questions you or the other members of the subcommittee may have.