Hero Project

Ted

My Hero

Have you ever wondered who my hero really is? Let me introduce him. My hero is my grandfather, Jim Biery. He is a writer, journalist, and photographer. He grew up in Kiukuk, Iowa and had a passion for reading and writing ever since he was a little boy. He loves to travel with his family and is currently writing a novel.

What is a hero?

Some typical pictures of heroism might depict firefighters, policemen or superheroes saving the day. However, being a hero goes beyond saving someone from a burning building. A hero is someone who is looked up to for great qualities.

A hero is a courageous soldier helping his fellow men in battle. Just imagine a soldier who deals with unimaginable hardships, dragging his fallen comrade back to safety and tearing his own clothes to stop the profuse bleeding. Consider the danger in saving that life. Putting in danger himself to save another. To run through the hail of lead to pick up a man, moaning on the ground. Then after it is all over, picture the wounded man, thanking the other with all the greatness of his heart. That is what a hero is.

A hero is someone who provides for the needs of others. Mary is a woman who constantly provides for others. When she is not working and comforting her children, she is volunteering at charities and soup kitchens. Before, she used to look away as she walked passed homeless people on the side of the sidewalk. Since the homelessness and recovery of her friend, John, Mary realized just how much other people need. Although she is juggling many things, above all, Mary feels the call to serve others. By caring for both her children and those in desperate need, Mary is a true hero.

From physically saving someone on a battlefield or volunteering at a soup kitchen, there are many forms of heroism. Anyone can be a hero in their own way. It does not have to be as extreme as popular culture finds it; it could be as simple as bringing a smile on someone’s face, or making those who have little joy find joy in their lives. Being a hero can take many forms, but what really matters is trying.

Jim and Ben: The Connection

A hero is someone who has admirable qualities and uses opportunities to help people and do great things. Benjamin Franklin was an American diplomat, scientist, inventor, printer and founder of the first fire department. He is most notable for his role as a Founding Father of the United States of America. One of his many accomplishments was to convince the French king in supporting the American revolutionaries. Benjamin Franklin is a hero because of the things he did for his country.

Benjamin Franklin secured loans from France to help the U.S. win the Revolutionary War. According to the Gale Encyclopedia of U.S Economic History, “By 1777 [Franklin] had negotiated approximately $2 million (about $35 million in 2013 dollars) in loans from France.” Without this support from France, the U.S. could have lost the war because, at the time, the newly independent country was bankrupt and needed supplies to fight Britain. Benjamin Franklin and other diplomats secured these funds over years of persuasion led by Franklin himself. Not only were funds sent, but also troops. The American Heritage Magazine stated, “...French loans and gifts repeatedly rescued the Americans from financial collapse. In 1780 a 5,000-man French expeditionary force arrived in Rhode Island...there were some 7,800 French soldiers at Yorktown.” All of this was negotiated by Franklin.

Benjamin Franklin was a very influential Founding Father and he is one of the biggest heroes of the American Revolutionary War. Given his many other accomplishments, the role he played behind the scenes often receives less recognition than those on the battlefield. Overall, Benjamin Franklin really describes what a hero is by persevering over many years to help the U.S. become free and create the great nation that we have today.

Benjamin Franklin and my grandfather are both heroes because of the things they did in their times to fight against injustice. Benjamin Franklin saved the U.S. in the Revolution and my grandfather stood up for Civil Rights. These two people were very courageous in their actions and for the most part, they go unrecognized as heroes. These people went out of their way to help others and bring about change. My grandfather stood up for discrimination in the U.S. while Benjamin Franklin brought change to a whole country. Benjamin Franklin and my grandfather are heroes because they both were courageous in their actions and they helped to change America.

Heroism can come in many forms, big or small, saving someone’s life, or just making their day. Benjamin Franklin and my grandfather have many differences, but they are still heroes. While Benjamin Franklin brought change by helping to found a whole country, my grandfather helped to have less discrimination. Overall, there are many types of heroes, but people can be heroes in their daily lives.


Desegregation: A Cause Worth Fighting For

The fastest way to get students on the road to better opportunities is to bus them there. During the Civil Rights movement, it was recognized that segregated schools caused a gap in education between blacks and whites. Busing was used to answer the call for the desegregation of schools in 1970s and 1980s. Through busing, black students were provided an education unavailable in their own neighborhood schools. Since then, research has shown that school desegregation has had many positive effects and should still be implemented today.

In many states, segregation in public schools occurred because students attended schools in their own neighborhoods, which were themselves segregated. Not only did this divide students by race, but also by economic conditions. The result was that richer, white children had better educations than African Americans and other minorities. This was very prevalent in the 1930s due to the Jim Crow Laws. Most schools remained completely segregated until 1968 with desegregation programs that were enforced by the Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education. Desegregation busing, being one the programs, helped the disadvantaged to get into the richer, white schools where the education was far greater.

Desegregation busing allowed disadvantaged children to get better educations. In his article, ‘Forced Busing’ Didn’t Fail, The Washington Post journalist George Theoharis asserts that between the 1970s when the National Assessment of Educational Progress began to 1988, the huge gap in reading scores of fifty-three points between black and white 17-year old students “narrowed to twenty points” (Theoharis). The rise in test scores suggests that desegregation in schools has a positive impact on disadvantaged children and is a clear example of why the government should keep implementing the program. Overall, desegregation actually improved academics as predicted.

Not only did desegregation raise test scores, but also it helped out those in poverty. With the richer, white schools having many more resources than minority schools, white students naturally have better opportunities to get the quality education that will help them do well in life. The goal of desegregation was more than blacks being in the same school as whites. It was to provide black students the benefits of the many resources of great schools and to help them succeed in life. Since white schools tend to have more resources than black ones, mixing the schools’ populations should benefit both. The white schools gave minorities better support, while black schools’ test scores were raised by having better educated children introduced into the school. In short, the opportunities given by busing are priceless to the children that it helped.

In contrast, others believe that busing is too disruptive to students who are better off in their neighborhood schools. An article in the Public School Review entitled Busing and Desegregation: Understanding the Link, presents the arguments against busing. One consequence of busing is “white flight,” where “white families move their children from public schools to private and suburban institutions” (Chen). According to Louise Armstrong, a retired public school teacher from Tennessee (interviewed on March 25, 2016) “white flight” occurred when busing was introduced into the Nashville Public School District. The argument is that when advantaged children are bused to lower income schools, the school will do better, however, the children’s learning will not. Without resources, many schools lack the educational tools required to have their students receive a great education. Therefore, switching schools may benefit the disadvantaged, but may handicap those who already went to better schools.

While there is much controversy over busing programs to integrate schools, research highlights the many benefits of racial diversity in schools. According to Genevieve Siegel-Hawley and Erica Frankenberg, authors of “Magnet School Student Outcomes: What the Research Says” (The National Coalition of School Diversity, October 2011), “students of all races who attend diverse schools have higher levels of critical thinking, an ability to adopt multiple perspectives; diminished likelihood for acceptance of stereotypes, higher academic achievement, more cross-racial friendships, willingness to attend diverse colleges and live in diverse neighborhoods, access to more privileged social networks, higher feelings of civic and communal responsibility, high college-going rate, [and] more prestigious jobs.”

One trend in public school education over the last decade has been the rise in magnet school enrollment, particularly in urban school districts. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, enrollment in magnet schools across the country rose from 2 million students in 2003-2004 to over 2.5 million students in 2008-2009.

Desegregation in public schools is a great way to help give students equal opportunities to succeed. Siegel-Hawley and Frankenberg reference research that “suggests that magnet schools are continuing to carry out their original mission” of school integration. Instead of the “white flight” of decades earlier, “magnet schools were able to retain significant groups of white students from higher incomes and more educated communities.” As an example, they cite the Los Angeles Unified school district, the second largest in the country, which provides evidence of the long-term positive impact of magnet schools. Magnet schools were introduced in 1982 as the way to desegregate the school district. In 2008, UCLA researchers tracked 48,561 students through high school who attended those magnet schools. The evidence was overwhelming: “73% of students who attended a magnet high school in the district graduated compared to 43% of non-magnet schools. Stated differently, attending a magnet more than doubled the probability of a student earning a high school diploma”.

School desegregation has been a controversial subject over the past forty years. While the initial attempt to achieve this through busing had the unintended consequences of “white flight” and therefore, continued self-imposed segregation, the more recent trend of busing students to magnet schools has been successful. The benefits of diversity in schools goes well beyond the classroom and positively impacts students for life. Therefore, school integration should be continued today through magnet schools.


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