In a touching video appeal to President Barack Obama, a severely autistic student Billy Pagoni reminded us of how starved our nation’s educational resources are.
“Dear President Obama, my name is Billy Pagoni. I want to be a baker. I am a great student. I never miss a day of school. I get A’s on my report card. Please, can you help me go to college? I am an American. I am autistic.”
Those were the words expressed by Billy who is graduating from high school in Naples, Florida this year as a straight-A student.
Billy applied to a variety of colleges throughout his home state and was denied not because he was unqualified, but because colleges lacked the resources necessary to advance his education. I cannot even begin to fully articulate how distraught I am to hear that such a determined and well-performed student has been denied education because of a lack of resources.
Unfortunately, this speaks to a larger issue… an issue in which many American students who work their hardest to reach their highest potential of success find themselves victimized and are told “There are no funds to match your ambition.”
No longer should we be accepting the excuses surrounding our educational opportunities being denied. We are contiually told that countries like India and China are surpassing our youth in skills. Preventing this from happening requires leadership from our representatives at a local, state, federal level.
Throughout Europe students have rioted as politicians sacrificed their education in order to bail out corporations and make up for government mismanagement of funds, but we are silent.
Autistic or not, the sad phenomenon is that thousands of students in the United States share the same story as Billy Pagoni.
Now is the time that American students collectively say no more.
No student who wants an education should be denied. To do so is immoral, criminal, and a betrayal to our youth.
Education should be at the forefront of our priorities; not just for our individual sake, but for the sake of our nation.
Through education we build a promising, competitive and productive nation.
“We have an obligation and a responsibility to be investigating in our students and our schools. We must make sure that people who have the grades, the desire and the will, but not the money, can still get the best education possible.” - President Barack Obama
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