One of the first things I heard in the very first presentation I attended during freshman orientation was, “Congratulations, you are all so lucky to be here.” Everyone kind of looked around, wondering how lucky they really were, in fact, ” to be here.” I got the sense that it didn’t really set in for some people, even after we were told that for every person accepted to attend West Chester University, six weren’t. That’s a pretty strong ratio, and yet many were not impressed. I’m sure that for some people, West Chester was a goal, a hope, a number one top pick. And I’m also sure that we were all happy to be here; after all, it was our choice to attend. However, for some reason I just got the idea that not so many people felt lucky to be here. Why exactly would someone feel lucky to go to WCU? After all, the summer has just ended, we’ve been thrown into a completely different and unique setting and we know few, if any, of our peers. Well, the luck that we were told we have is luck that comes from somewhere completely different than the small borough of West Chester.
It comes from a place called the United States. It comes from the idea that today’s schools are producing so few proficient students that getting into college in the year 2012 will be so much more difficult for young adults that many simply will not be accepted anywhere. Across the nation, only 15 percent of fourth graders that live in lowincome families achieved proficiency in reading in 2003 in comparison with the 41 percent of fourth graders in non lowincome families that achieved it. That means approximately 28 percent of American fourth graders achieved proficiency in reading in 2003. Seventy-two out of every 100 fourth graders could not read at a fourth grade reading level.
I know we’re in college, but one must understand that what one learns in fourth grade has a direct impact on how capable one is of learning and understanding in later on in life. I’m not just talking about fourth graders, I’m talking about all of us eight or nine years ago. The fourth graders now are destined for complete and utter failure unless the necessary skills and information are taught to them now. Why are we lucky to be here? Because if we were born eight years later, getting here would be even more of a struggle. Jeff Simon is a first year student majoring in communications.