Redshirting (in case you live on the moon) is the increasingly common practice of delaying kindergarten for children who turn 5 any time after April (assuming a September 1 cutoff for kindergarten). As wealth disparity grows in the US, elite colleges take smaller and smaller percentages of applicants, academic expectations shift downwards ('first grade is like seventh now), and parents read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell this practice seems to make sense.
And then! Just when everyone is on board with the concept - research and articles like this one, Delay Kindergarten at Your Child's Peril pop up in the New York Times and the frenzy begins all over again.
'So why is this such an incendiary topic?' a mannerly mother with the excellent fortune or insight to only give birth between October and February, might ask. After all, who cares what other people do? Do they honestly think it will make that much difference? Don't these minor advantages in kindergarten even out by middle school? If a red shirted child is valedictorian of her high school class, has she usurped that honor from the rightful heir in that age group? What about those coveted spots at elite institutions? Do colleges look at birth year? What about the child's self-confidence? Is there academic data supporting this approach? What about the parent's emotional baggage? Does a red shirted student have a better chance of getting a scholarship? A better job? Really doesn't it all come down to everyone wanting to do what is best for his or her children? And the controversy lies in what he/she believes that to be. But again, probably not the best questions to ask in a getting-to-know-you sort of way.
Of course the editors here at M4MM can not begin to advise you on the merits of either approach - we are just here to help you avoid this conversational minefield - should you wish to do so.
Lester Bangs: What, are you like the star of your school?
William Miller: They hate me.
Lester Bangs: You'll meet them all again on their long journey to the middle.
Photos from Google Images and Almost Famous web site.