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Mon Mar 5, 2012, 05:02 AM

Redshirting: Holding kids back from kindergarten

(CBS News) Kindergarten "redshirting" is on the rise. That's the practice of parents holding their children back from kindergarten so they can start school at age 6 - older, bigger, and more mature than their 5-year-old peers. Some research shows that redshirting will give these youngsters an edge in school, and maybe even in life. But is it fair? After all, as Morley Safer reports, boys are twice as likely to be held back as girls. Whites more than minorities. And the rich redshirt their kids more than the poor.

The following script is from "Redshirting" which aired on March 4, 2012. Morley Safer is the correspondent. Deirdre Naphin, producer.


Kindergarten was once milk, cookies and finger paints. In a countrywide epidemic of hyper-parenting, it's becoming blood, sweat and tears. So maybe you played Mozart for your baby while he was still in the womb and gave him Chinese lessons at age 2, tried everything to give your kid an edge and then when he's 5, well you don't exactly cheat, but you game the system.

It's called "redshirting": holding your 5-year-old back from kindergarten 'til he's 6 so he'll be among the oldest and smartest kids in class. Parents of a 5-year-old with a late birthday despair that little Johnny will forever be a failure if he has to compete with kids six or eight months older so they put the fix in; hold him back a year so he has the edge in class and ultimately an edge in life.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57390128/redshirting-holding-kids-back-from-kindergarten/?tag=contentMain;cbsCarousel

VIDEO: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7400898n&tag=contentBody;storyMediaBox

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Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 05:10 AM

1. Gosh, parents thinking maybe they shouldn't toss their kids into the pool at 5 years old?

I can't imagine why anyone would imagine that their children being more mature before being forced into a school environment could possibly be a good thing.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #1)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 05:17 AM

2. Solution to 6-year-olds showing up 5-year-olds in the same grade level =

Arm the 5-year-olds with slingshots and silly string.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #1)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 07:48 AM

4. I'm with you, Wraith. I'd redshirt my grandson for life if I could, just so he wouldn't ever have to

be shoved into that crazy pressure cooker at all. But I'm glad his BD is late November so he's not eligible for K this year anyway.

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Response to Nay (Reply #4)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 03:40 PM

10. If you feel that way, there's always homeschooling.

It's time consuming, but a good choice for people who feel their child wouldn't thrive in public school for whatever reason. Too gentle, too different, too smart, etcetera.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #10)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 06:21 PM

13. I did homeschool my son for 1st grade because his 1st grade teacher was a "screamer." She

screamed at the kids all day -- I caught her at it several times myself. He hated school from the beginning, but has turned out all right.

I'm too dang old to teach the grandson all day; it would take energy I don't have, even if I didn't work full time as I do. We'll have to see how he responds to the schools around here and hope for the best.

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Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 07:42 AM

3. My youngest was born Sept. 6th

The cutoff date was Sept. 15th. We elected to hold her back. It is a big financial decision for the child since it means starting to make income a year later.

I was born Sept. 20th, and I was not held back. I started college at 17, and I think I would have benefitted from being held back a year. I did not have kindergarten or any sort of preschool. I did very poorly in 1st grade especially in reading. My parents moved after 1st grade, and I missed at least three weeks of 2nd grade. I again did poorly. I attribute my taking off in reading to getting a book from the Bookmobile toward the end of 2nd grade. I went from near the bottom to one of the top students in a year.

In hindsight my parents should have had me repeat 1st grade after the move. It would have been a new school so no one would have known I was held back.

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Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 09:27 AM

5. there is no benefit

a given individual child may not be "ready" and may benefit but as a general practice there is none. the mention here that "some research" is media bs. research shows No academic or social advantage for older children. Just as there is No "mozart effect."

my 26 lb sept. 8 2007 daughter will start K this fall and do as well longterm as her six-year-old classmates.

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Response to d_r (Reply #5)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 09:46 AM

6. Bingo

I wasn't read shirted, I was just born in December. I was always one of the oldest in my class. Can't say it really gave me an educational benefit. Strangely, I always had this social feeling that I was "older" than my classmates. I suspect it was more of a social/culture thing than an age thing. I was #6 of 7 children in the family and I had a tendency to be socially "older". I listened to "older" music. My first real girl friend was in a class ahead of me. By my junior year in High School I was so ready to be done and gone it wasn't funny.

I think you'll see more parents who are interested in this kind of strategizing choose to "home school" their kids instead. I've noticed an increase in home schooling, and not amongst the born again crowd, but among the college graduate/techincal professional crowd that wants a "better" education for their kid. (Really, they want more direct control of the curriculum).

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #6)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 09:58 AM

7. no, some people just know their children.

we did it because i had a kid who i knew would not fit in. i had never heard the word aspergers' syndrome at the time (he is now 25) but i suspect that he has it. that vaunted "socialization" would have left him beaten. he would have been bullied, i know.

control over the curriculum? what i wanted was for HIM to have control. as long as he wanted to learn it, he did. and still does. he is a true autodidact. and getting straight a's in college, studying theoretical math.
factory school just isn't going to serve every kid. those on the low end of the scale get adjustments. the high end? hahahahahahahaaaa.

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Response to d_r (Reply #5)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 06:15 PM

12. How about a benefit to the kid's emotional state?

How about not being automatically at a disadvantage for being smaller, younger, and less confidant? Maybe there doesn't have to be a "long term academic benefit" for it if the child is happier and well adjusted.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #12)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 09:56 PM

14. but there is evidence to the contrary

for example, girls who reach puberty earlier than their classmates are at far greater risk for negative outcomes such as drug abuse and pregnancy.

I'm trying to remember some hillbilly joke about being in the biggest kid in sixth grade, that's because your 18 Jimmy.

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Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 10:22 AM

8. This is what ridiculously prohibitive college costs lead and an over emphasis on sports lead to

This said, given the fact that KG programs are totally developmentally inadequate for kids, it may be helpful for those kids to have an extra year before having to sit at a desk for extended period of time.

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Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 11:53 AM

9. I predict more and more of this

Common Core is being shoved at us and it's very developmentally inappropriate. So more parents will choose (wisely, IMO) to wait a year for their children to start kindergarten.

The kindergarteners in my school are studying the parts of a friendly letter. We used to teach that in 2nd or 3rd grade. Now we expect 5 year olds to do what used to be standard curriculum for 8 year olds.

So when parents ask me about holding back their 5 year olds I tell them it's probably the smartest educational decision they'll make for their child.

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Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 04:33 PM

11. An "edge" later in life? Because of kindergarten?

Early childhood education is important. Really important. But I sincerely doubt it means the difference between lifetime success and lack of success. (Although I appreciate more attention on the epidemic of hyper parenting.)

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