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Old 08-22-2015, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Illinois
963 posts, read 444,353 times
Reputation: 266

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As an introductory statement to this thread: the topic of school age entrance, kindergarten cutoffs, early entry, and redshirting has been going on for many decades. But while this debate goes on very frequently, no one is trying to find a way to reduce the amount of debates and conflicts associated with when someone should start school. It is a fact that each child is different, some children would do better being older, and some gifted students would do better entering early or skipping a grade.



Is this a good reason below, for a parent to hold back their child for a year, or "redshirt" them?

What if the parent says something like this:

He is ready to go to school.

He is very mature socially, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

He can perform very well academically.

But I don't want him to go to school only because "he will be one of the youngest in his class"




No offense intended to those parents or teachers who feel that way, and I'm sure a lot of parents wouldn't want their child to be the youngest in a group, or be last. But there really doesn't appear to be any solution to alleviate the problem of "having to be the youngest in the class". Some parents hold their child out for a year because they lack readiness or maturity, and I can understand that. Some states have actually moved up their cutoff dates recently in an attempt to reduce the issue of being the youngest in your class, but, as a fact, it really does not, because it shifts the problem from one group of people to another. And it's a fact that having an earlier cutoff date, while it improves average test scores in schools, it does not reduce the redshirting rate. Here's what I mean:

The cutoff date is December 1. "I don't want my late November baby to be one of the youngest in his/her class" vs:

The cutoff date is July 1. "I don't want my late June baby to be one of the youngest in his/her class"

The decision of where to put the cutoff date is usually up to the state decision or a local decision. But no matter what that date is, there will always be an oldest child and a youngest child, and there will always be parents and teachers who have many different opinions on both sides of the problem. These feelings and opinions wouldn't change whether the cutoff was June 1 or December 31. Even if you were to put a cap on redshirting and early entry, someone would still be the oldest/youngest, as shown above with two different cutoffs. Some people don't look at their own child to see if they are mature enough and ready to handle school and know their colors, shapes, or the alphabet or their numbers. Instead they just look at their birthday and the cutoff.

Redshirting also puts pressure on other parents, too. Because if all the boys in a kindergarten class are held back until they 6 or 7 years old, and a parent with a child who turns 5 just in time for school to start, who believes in their child to succeed in school, and no one is his age, it pressures all the other parents to hop on the bandwagon just because one or two people are doing it. Just because one person does something doesn't mean that you have to do it too. This basically cheats the system and screws up the system because there is no point where it stops. If 6 was to become the new 5, then what? People will hold their child back until they were 7?

You could have a kid who barely makes the cutoff and he could be one of the most mentally mature kids in the world and he could be making straight A's throughout his K-12 life and be a valedictorian. But some people say "being the youngest in his class is a problem".

That was not a typo. The parent did not say "I feel like my kid is too young to go to school." They said "My kid will be the youngEST in his group". There's a difference. Let's say a parent has a child born on June 27th. If the cutoff is July 1, she wouldn't send him. But if the cutoff was November 1, that same parent would send him because he'll likely be several months older than a few kids, according to the parent who doesn't him to be the youngest member of a group.

This doesn't just apply to school, but it applies anywhere. In any location, someone will always be the oldEST and someone will be the youngEST.



To reduce complaints about kids who want to start school that miss the cutoff date and want to use early entry, and kids who make the cutoff being held back because parents have a problem with being the youngest in the group, what do you think the cutoff should be? I'm asking for an opinion that you think will actually reduce redshirt and early entry rates and so that there would be fewer debates overall about when a child should start school.
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Old 08-22-2015, 10:00 PM
 
5,936 posts, read 5,432,074 times
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There is no systematic solution because no matter what rule is developed, it will not suit every child in every circumstance. All you can do is set whatever guideline that would work best for most kids then allow some kind of mechanism to allow exceptions to the rule where appropriate, to be decided on a case by case basis. That's pretty much what we have now in most places.

I honestly don't believe it is that contentious of a topic currently. There is a level of debate around every single topic surrounding children and this does not feel any bigger than any of the 10,000 things parents squabble with each other over honestly.

In any case, a child can be poised, mature and academically advanced at at young age but then a few years later, will often himself dramatically out of step with his peers when they take a developmental leap (often emotionally or physically) ahead of him. That's the reason smart, mature kids who don't quite reach the cutoff are sometimes encouraged to wait the year anyway.
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Old 08-23-2015, 09:38 AM
 
6,461 posts, read 6,477,746 times
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It's an individual thing. Holding school off a year can be the difference between success and failure for that child. I've seen many students progress from Kinder or first throughout high school. Most are just fine, it some of the younger ones struggled their entire educational experience. Those parents who are worried about it should have the option of delaying school.

It's really putting the child on the same level as the older kids in the grade level, instead of being the absolute youngest.
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Old 08-23-2015, 10:07 AM
 
1,921 posts, read 1,247,530 times
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No manner of date moving or petty strategy will ever prevent good parents from wanting their kids to have an advantage.
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Old 08-23-2015, 11:09 AM
 
4,070 posts, read 1,554,506 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkbab5 View Post
No manner of date moving or petty strategy will ever prevent good parents from wanting their kids to have an advantage.
Wouldn't a truly "good parent" want every kid to have an equal "advantage"?
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Old 08-23-2015, 02:08 PM
 
6,461 posts, read 6,477,746 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoot N Annie View Post
Wouldn't a truly "good parent" want every kid to have an equal "advantage"?
A good parent wants their child to be successful and happy and each child is different in their needs. Some children start early, on time, or late.
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Old 08-24-2015, 06:36 AM
 
6,635 posts, read 4,594,798 times
Reputation: 13349
There's no way an arbitrary date is the best way to decide to if a child is ready for Kindergarten or not. Those who are not ready can end their first year in school at a deficit that may follow them for years. Those held back who were ready may end up bored and disruptive. Parent preferences are just as bad. Why can't we test kids to figure it out? Takes it out of the hands of whimsy (the calendar), parents (who may have an agenda) and puts it in the hand of educators who are best qualified to decide. It would add cost, but if it reduced the need for remedial help, summer school and other more costly interventions in the future, it might be worth it.
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Old 08-24-2015, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee, WI
2,148 posts, read 1,614,592 times
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For boys, it might make sense. It helps, if a kid has extra year to grow up a little bit. Boys' hierarchy is always structured around physical strength.

On another hand, if you child interacts with older boys on a playground just fine, and maybe has his best friend going to a school this year too, or is just eager to go to school in the first place... Then go for it earlier.
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Old 08-24-2015, 11:13 AM
 
51,897 posts, read 41,774,553 times
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There is no practical need for a one size fits all solution as far as I'm concerned.

Too many variables with regards to not only the kid but to the school and community culture. (Sports vs. academics etc.)
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Old 08-24-2015, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Illinois
963 posts, read 444,353 times
Reputation: 266
For those who thought that the starting post was too long, or for those who missed what I really meant:

What *should* the cutoff date be so that parents will be LESS likely to redshirt their children?
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