The Real Spirit of a True American

Dear Friends.

This is a very inspiring life story of Quang Nguyen, Mr. Nguyen immigrated to the United States in 1975 from Vietnam at age 13. He graduated from California State University, at Long Beach with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. Highly skilled and experienced in all aspects of marketing and design. Mr. Nguyen is a visionary and practical strategist. He has extensive experienced in higher education, in addition to the municipality and public sectors.

The Real Spirit of a True American

The town of Prescott Valley, AZ, hosted a Vietnam Veterans Day Freedom Rally. Quang Nguyen was asked to speak about his experience of coming to America and what it means.

He spoke the following in dedication to all Vietnam Veterans. Thought you should read what he had to say:

“35 years ago, if you were to tell me that I am going to stand up here speaking to a couple thousand people, in English, I’d laugh at you. Every morning I wake up thanking God for putting me and my family in the greatest country on earth. I just want you all to know that the American dream does exist and I am living that American dream. I was asked to speak>> to you about my experience as a first generation Vietnamese-American, but I’d rather speak to you as an American.

If you hadn’t noticed, I am not white and I feel pretty comfortable with my people.

I am a proud U.S. citizen and here is my proof. It took me 8 years to get citizenship, waiting in endless lines, but I earned it, I got it, and I am very proud of it….I don’t see myself as entitled to anything, but the chance to succeed.

I still remember the images of the Tet offensive in 1968, I was six years old. Now, you might want to question how a 6-year-old boy could remember anything.

Trust me, those images can never be erased. I can’t even imagine what it was like for those young American soldiers, 10,000 miles away from home, fighting for freedoms, on my behalf.

35 years ago, I left South Vietnam for political asylum. The war had ended. At the age of 13, I left with the clear understanding that I might not ever get to see my siblings or parents again. I was one of the first of the lucky 100,000 Vietnamese allowed to come to the U.S. Thankfully, my family and I were able to be reunited 5 months later, amazingly, in California. It was a miracle from God.

If you haven’t heard lately, this is the greatest country on earth, I am telling you that right now. It was the freedom and the opportunities presented to me that put me here with all of you tonight.

I also remember the barriers that I had to overcome every step of the way. My high school counselor told me that I could not ever make it to college, due to my poor communication skills. I proved him wrong. I entered and finished college.

You see, all you have to do is to give this little boy, and anyone like him, a challenge and an opportunity and encourage him to take it and run with it, then, get out of his way. Well, I took the opportunity and here I am, today.

This person standing tonight in front of you today could not exist under a socialist/communist environment. By the way, if you think socialism is the way to go, I am sure many people here will chip in to get you a one-way ticket out of here. And if you didn’t know, the only difference between socialism and communism is an AK-47 aimed at your head. That was my first-hand experience….one I will never forget.

In 1982, I stood with a thousand new immigrants, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and listening to the National Anthem for the first time as an American. To this day, I can’t remember anything sweeter and more patriotic than that moment in my life.

Fast forwarding, somehow I finished high school, finished college, and like any other goofball 21 year old kid, I was having a great time with my life. I had a nice job and a nice apartment in Southern California….all a dream come true.   In some way and somehow, I had forgotten how I got here and why I was here.

One day I was at a gas station, I saw a veteran pumping gas on the other side of the island. I don’t know what made me do it, but I walked over and asked if he had served in Vietnam. He smiled and said yes. I shook and held his hand. That grown man began to well up. I walked away as fast as I could and at that very moment, I was emotionally rocked. This was a profound moment in my life. I knew something had to change in my life. It was time for me to learn how to be a good citizen. It was time for me to give back.

You see, America is not just a place on the map, it isn’t just a physical location. It is an ideal, a concept….a set of principles worth fighting for.

And if you are an American, you must understand this concept, you must accept this concept; most important, you have to fight and continually defend this concept….or it will be taken away from you.

This is about Freedom and not ‘free stuff’.. And that is why I am standing up here.

Brothers and sisters, to be a real American, the very least you must do is to learn English and understand it well. In my humble opinion, you cannot be a faithful, patriotic citizen if you can’t speak the language of the country you live in. Take this document of 46 pages – last I looked on the Internet, there was not a Vietnamese translation of the U.S. Constitution. It took me a long time to get to the point of being able to converse and until this day, I still struggle to come up with the right words. It’s not easy, but if it’s too easy, it’s not worth doing.

Before I knew this 46-page document, I learned of the 500,000 Americans who fought for this little boy. I learned of the 58,000 names inscribed on that black wall at the Vietnam Memorial. You are my heroes. You are my founders and my sponsors.

When I see all the groups of protestors, with their signs and slogans–some, not even legal immigrants of this great country–I cannot help but think how little they really comprehend or understand it’s constitution, its founding principles, or it’s tenets of freedom……paid for by others who did believe and understand. They think, just because they’re here and they can protest, that they’re entitled to everything you have. They are not, nor will they ever be! Citizenship for those not born here has to be earned, not demanded. All too often, those things freely granted are taken for granted and not fully appreciated, versus those things earned and paid for.

At this time, I would like to ask all the Vietnam veterans to please stand. I thank you for liberating my life. I thank you for your services, and I thank you for giving me the freedom and liberty I have today. I now, ask all veterans, firefighters, and police officers, to please stand. On behalf of all first generation immigrants, I thank you for your services on our citizen’s behalf, and may God bless you all as you defend and protect patriotic citizens and protestors, alike.”

Quang Nguyen

 

Quang Nguyen, Founder, President, Creative and Art Director, Principal Strategist
Caddis Advertising, LLC

http://www.caddisad.com

“God Bless America”
“One Flag, One Language, One Nation Under God

 

Respectfully,

Tincy Miller

SBOE, District 12

tincymiller35@gmail.com

www.tincymiller.com

 

 

 

CHARTER GRADS GET A LEG UP IN COLLEGE

 

Dear Friends,

A very informative article on Charter Schools written by Richard Whitmire. Whitmire is a veteran newspaper reporter, author and former editorial writer at USA Today. His first book after leaving USA Today was Why Boys Fail: Saving Our Sons from an Education System that’s Leaving Them Behind. He spent a year as a fellow with the Emerson Collective, allowing him to visit many of the top charter schools in the country, resulting in his latest book, The Founders, in which he shared untold anecdotes about the leaders, advocates, philanthropists and partners who helped spark an education revolution across the country.  His focus is on the potential of Charter Schools and how they collaborate with traditional districts and what their next-generation school models tell about where all schools are headed. Whitmire is a member of the Journalism Advisory Board of The 74. The 74 is a non-profit, non-partisan news site covering education in America. Our public education system is in crisis. In the United States, less than half of our students can read or do math at grade-level, yet the education debate is dominated by misinformation and political spin. The 74 interviews the top thinkers, policymakers and leaders in American education.

CHARTER GRADS GET A LEG UP IN COLLEGE

The NAACP on Wednesday reported findings from its nationwide “listening tour” on charter schools, and there were no surprises: Charters must be stopped. The National Education Association, even less surprisingly, said the same thing earlier this month in Boston.

The nation’s oldest civil-rights organization and the largest teachers union worry about charters for similar reasons. Independently run charters generally don’t employ unionized teachers, and they pull students from traditional district schools to which the NAACP is deeply committed. In short, charters disrupt the status quo—for adults.

The timing of the intertwined anticharter campaigns, however, may prove awkward because of new data just released by The 74. The data comes from the first cohort of charter students, who are beginning to graduate from college. Here’s what we know now that the NEA and NAACP didn’t know when they adopted their anticharter positions: Graduates from the top charter networks—those with enough high school alumni to measure college success accurately—earn four-year degrees at rates that range up to five times as high as their counterparts in traditional public schools. These are low-income, minority students from cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago and Newark, N.J. Their college success is going to make bashing charter schools far more challenging for the NEA and the NAACP.

Before this revelation, charter-school gains were largely measured by upticks in student test scores. Critics often wrote them off as meaningless, suggesting that charters abandoned educating kids in favor of “teaching to the test.” But now we see that charter school gains in the K-12 years have real-world consequences. Higher test scores, along with a swarm of strategies charter networks employ to make their students more successful after they graduate, lead to actual four-year college degrees.

Roughly half the graduates of Uncommon, YES Prep and the KIPP New York schools—among the biggest and best known charter networks in the country—earn bachelor’s degrees within six years. About a quarter of the graduates of the lower-performing charter networks earn degrees within six years. That may not strike wealthy parents as something to brag about. Eighty percent of children from America’s wealthiest families earn four-year degrees within six years. But charters primarily serve low-income families, where only 9% of students earn such degrees. Charters make a difference for poor families.

Charter networks are doing something traditional school districts have never considered: taking responsibility, at least in part, for the success of their students after they receive their diplomas. Low-income and traditionally low-opportunity students, nearly all of whom are the first in their families to attend college, need special help: Which courses to sign up for? How many credits to juggle in a semester? How to be the only minority in an all-white class?

There are ways to address all those issues, as charter networks such as KIPP and Uncommon are discovering. And they are more than willing-even eager-to share what they have learned with traditional district schools. That, sharing needs to starts soon, but the aggressive anti-charter stances taken by both the NAACP and the NEA will only make that process harder.

It’s difficult to identify and anti-poverty program that has been as successful as charter schools, but don’t expect the NAACP or the NEA to acknowledge that. The teachers unions especially are more concerned with the needs of adults employed by school districts than the welfare of the students passing through them. But the charter movement’s success will make defending that position more difficult, especially for governors, legislatures and urban school officials under pressure from parents to open more of these high-performing schools.

 

Respectfully,

Tincy Miller

SBOE, District 12

tincymiller35@gmail.com

www.tincymiller.com