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theschoolboards
02-09-2011, 09:32 AM
This from The Daily Beast (http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-02-07/holding-kids-back-from-kindergarten-how-redshirting-hurts/) by Kristina Dell:
As private kindergartens prepare to send out acceptance letters this week, competitive parents are trying to game the system with so called red shirting—delaying their kids' start in school so they'll be more advanced than their classmates. Kristina Dell on why it's backfiring.

Holly Korbey's son, Holden, was easy to spot in his kindergarten class—he was the one who actually looked kindergarten sized. "The other kids were just taller," says his mother.


That's because unlike his classmates, most of whom were six years old, Holden was only five—the traditional kindergarten age. But entering kindergarten at age six is becoming more and more common, say researchers. "My parents went to my son's kindergarten and said, 'The kids are so big! They look like they're eight,'" says Korbey.

Holding back kids so they'll enter kindergarten at the ripe old age of six has become such a common practice there's even a term for it: redshirting, a word borrowed from the sports world where an athlete sits out a year or more in order to lengthen eligibility. It's an apt metaphor. Not only are pre-schoolers grabbing an extra year to brush up on their ABCs, they're also gaining a year of growing time, which many parents believe bestows all sorts of future advantages—mainly for boys. "This has been a trend for years, but it has accelerated in the last five," says Emily Glickman, president of Abacus Guide Educational Consulting (http://abacusguide.com/), a service that helps parents navigate private school admissions in Manhattan.

And indeed, for a variety of reasons, it's the boys who are increasingly being redshirted. "Private schools in general tend to be less forgiving of younger boys than girls," says Glickman, "and parents feel like boys mature more slowly." As we approach February 11, the date most of New York City's private kindergartens mail out acceptance letters, the growing trend of keeping kids in pre-school an extra year is once again stirring heated debate.

One primary driver of redshirting is the schools themselves. "There has been a supply-and-demand problem in New York City independent schools in the last five years," says Lydia Spinelli, director of the Brick Church School (http://www.brickchurchschool.org/), a pre-school in Manhattan. "The older children interview better and are more likely to get the slots." Adds Glickman: "Private kindergartens are looking for older, more mature students because they are the ones more likely to succeed."


But redshirting is not just a private school phenomenon. Many public schools have similar policies, often at the request of parents who want their children to have a head start academically (an extra year of reading can mean better test scores and more self-confidence, at least in the short term) and more physical prowess (forget soccer, he's going to be a running back.)

read more>> (http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-02-07/holding-kids-back-from-kindergarten-how-redshirting-hurts/)