Due to the fact that girls do mature somewhat faster, some parents feel their boys could be at a disadvantage in school with girls who have greater verbal development. Consequently, boys are more often selected by parents to start school later in the practice called redshirting.
In fact, school principals and teachers often promote redshirting for girls, as well, either by advising parents of children near the cut off dates to hold the child back for the sake of better competitive advantage or by forcing the effect on everyone by arbitrarily moving up the cut off date, say from December to mid-October or even September. Despite their claims of expertise, they could be setting people on the wrong track:
Whatever the motives, most research finds the practice of redshirting misguided. Although the older children in a class may have a modest advantage in kindergarten and the first few grades, their academic boost typically fades by later elementary school. There is also some evidence that children who were held back are more vulnerable to risk taking and other emotional and behavioral problems when they reach adolescence of their classmates.
Aside from that, it is possible that their on par performance that is due to being older than their classmates could conceal the fact that they have “true development delays or learning disabilities” that are better addressed earlier than later (144-145).
For more points drawn from the book, see my longer post on it at http://uncommoncontent.blogspot.com/2012/02/what-are-little-girls-made-of.html
Related post: http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2008/09/betsy-is-not-understood.html
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