When I saw this headline about redshirting kindergartners, I thought it had something to do with Star Trek, but could not figure out how on earth the metaphor could be stretched – was someone sending 5 year olds out to get killed first on an Away team to the planet Rigel Beta XI? Or what?
No! It is a sports team metaphor. I never get those! Redshirting means sitting a younger player on the bench and saving them for another season.
But here it means this: Keeping your kid out of Kindergarten for an extra year. Basically it means you flunked preschool. (Or, your parents did.)
Now, I understand if your child has some developmental delays or some kind of health problem that means they are truly “not ready”. In that case I am totally understanding and I think a family should do what is best for them and the child. So if that is your child, I’m not talking to you.
But… in my experience over here in yuppieland it does not mean that. Instead, it means people who think one or more of these things:
– their child is too bratty to know how to behave
– they want their child (almost always a boy) to be bigger and stronger for sports and for playground fights
– they want their child (again usually a boy) to have an advantage academically
This is bullshit! It is all bullshit! I call it out on the carpet in a ranty way!
For one thing, if your 5 year old kid is too misbehaving to hang out in a classroom for a couple of hours, I seriously doubt they will improve by being home with YOU for a whole extra year. Since you clearly have done a shit job so far in civilizing it. How hard could mostly-behaving-yourself in kindergarten be?
For another thing so what if your child does have a bit of a behavior problem in kindergarten? What is the big deal here? It’s not going down on their Permanent Record is it? So they were bratty in class one day and cried, or threw a tantrum, or scrunched someone’s owl. Big whoop! They’re in kindergarten! They’re tiny kids! Send them to the principal’s office ! They don’t always behave! And that’s okay.
As for the parents who want their nasty little boneheaded brutes to be even huger and more thuggish so they can kick my kid’s ass around the playground, screw them!
And the ones who are dooming their kids to a future of being 20 year old high school seniors, for the sake of a possible football scholarship again because they are hulking thugs more physically mature than the other kids, whatEVER… And don’t you think that sends a bad message to your kid, down the line?
As for the academic readiness, once again let me remind you this is kindergarten. That place where you learn to sit in your chair for 15 minutes, you learn the alphabet, the names of the shapes and colors, and how to hold a crayon. Come on people. How “ready” do you have to be. Kindergarten usually last for like 2 and a half hours and that is half recess, story time, and snacks anyway. I think your kid can handle the pressure.
Mostly it pisses me off because it is an argument that people turn into something so gender-based and because it is rooted in privilege. It is people with the privilege to pay for a whole extra year of child care or lose the wages of the person caring for the child while it’s not in school. So if you are doing this you are throwing your privilege around in a really ugly way even if you think it is “best for little Connor” or whatever, what you are doing is saying that you can’t stand even for a second that your misbehaving, too dumb to hold a crayon, hellspawn does not have the maximal privilege known to mankind. Put them in school to get socialized like a regular member of our society and shut up.
Also my solution to all of this hullabaloo is to pay teachers more, so that we get amazing, competent, happy teachers, and they will be able to handle a class full of 5 year olds just fine.