Redshirting: Holding kids back from kindergarten

Morley Safer reports on the rising trend of "redshirting," delaying kindergarten until children are 6 years old. Will this make these students more successful in school and life?

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Holly Korbey had never heard of redshirting when she and her family moved to Dallas. She assumed her son Holden would start kindergarten shortly after he turned 5 in August of 2008, but she was shocked when her son's preschool teacher urged her to hold him back.

Holly Korbey: And I said, "What? Why?" And I said, "He reads. He's fully reading. He has no behavioral issues." And she said, "Well, he's the very youngest. And here, all the youngest boys are held back."

And then there were the other parents.

Korbey: They started asking me, "Are you going to--what are you going to do with Holden next year?" And I said, "Well, I think we're gonna send him to kindergarten." And they would go, "Hmmm, I don't know about that. You know, that's not a good idea." And they gave me all kinds of reasons.

Safer: Like?

Korbey: Like he'll be the last to drive and he won't get to go on dates like the other kids. There's a lot of talk of, "I want my son to be a leader." I mean academics were never mentioned.

Safer: Any suggestion that you can get an edge up on the other kids?

Korbey: Yes, I think that there is a subtle message that we're gonna have an advantage over everyone else.

Korbey says much of the talk among parents centered upon the work of Malcolm Gladwell whose best-selling book "Outliers" has become the Bible for parents of 4 and 5-year-olds.

Safer: In your book, you argue that the month you were born in can well dictate your success or failure in later life.

Malcolm Gladwell: In that part of the book, I'm talking about a concept called "cumulative advantage" and that is the idea that a little extra nudge ahead when you're 6 can mean that you're slightly better positioned when you're 7, and that means you're slightly better positioned when you're 8, and so on. And you can see this pattern in one field after another.

Like hockey, Gladwell reported that a majority of Canadian junior all-stars had one thing in common.

Gladwell: The overwhelming number of kids are born in the first half of the year.

Safer: So, January, February, March...

Gladwell: Yeah, it's kind of amazing. Look at the list, it's like, January, January, January, February, February, February, and there's like one kid from December, you know.

Gladwell says there's a simple explanation. In Canada, the birthday cutoff for junior hockey is January 1st.