I thought this article on the growth in Fairfax school enrollment was interesting It says enrollment is up by 2,500, in part due to a shift of 1,000 students from Prince William county. Some hypothesize it’s due to Prince William’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants; others suggest it’s due to the high price of gas. It’s likely that both contribute, and may even affect the same families. I wonder what the typical shifts between the two counties are.
Via Yglesias, I ran into this study arguing that redshirting of kindergarteners leads to reduced high school completion, since it means that kids have completed fewer years of school when they reach the age where they’re no longer required to attend school. This doesn’t make sense to me, as it’s overwhelmingly upper-middle-class families who hold their kids back a year, but lower-income kids who drop out as soon as they’re legally able to. Anyone want to take a crack at it?
I love Alan Blinder’s idea of stimulating the economy by buying back polluting clunkers for more than book value. One of my pet bugaboos is that when people talk about "green jobs" they always focus on the sexy futuristic stuff like solar and wind power, when you could get a lot more bang for the buck subsidizing new boilers and more insulation in low-cost rental housing. (As long as renters pay for the utility bills, it almost never makes economic sense for landlords to make those investments on their own.)
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On the redshirting of kindergardeners: maybe the practice increases the intellectual and maturity disparity between the poor kids and the rich ones, which leads to the poor kids concluding they are even less likely to make a success out of school?
Maybe one of the reasons for the increase in drop out rates where red shirting kindergarten children is prevalent is that it changes the playing field for those students who are not red shirted. As most of the children who enter kindergarten older than the usual age of 5, they already have an educational advantage based upon their economic status. Then give them an additional year of maturation and cognitive development, it makes it very hard for the typical kindergarten child to produce the same quality work as the red shirted child. It is a great way to make normal, average children feel there is something wrong with themselves. They look at their classmates who are bigger, more physically able and have in most cases received tutoring or schooling before entering kindergarten as wonder why they can’t do the same things as those kids. If you feel there is no way to win, no way to compete, no way to measure up there is little reason to continue staying on the field. Just an idea to consider.
Hmm…isn’t there research about the negative effects of red-shirting that hit around 4th grade, when the “early” readers find that almost everyone else has caught up, and suddenly they have to work, which they weren’t used to? I have a vague memory of that–will look for a link.
What Carosgram writes above is interesting. Maybe teachers themselves get used to redshirting and assume that kids who enter kindergarten are able to do more than is really normal for most kids of district-specified kindergarten age. Partly because of NCLB, it seems like many of the K-6 teachers I know are caught between what they know is appropriate developmentally and what NCLB and the parents of red-shirted kids in particular demand.
An odd thing we’ve seen with our oldest is that the red-shirted kids in his kindergarten class all got moved by parents to the local magnet school because of their strong academics in kindergarten. But none of them ended up in the school’s GATE class in second grade, when our district starts separate GATE for those who want it. Anecdotal evidence is apparently all I have for now…
We have been pretty profoundly unserious about energy: cardigan sweaters in the White House and bloviation from Al Gore about wind energy while he lives in an energy hog mansion (and Teddy Kennedy stymies any windmills he could see). SUVs are light trucks, so were exempt from CAFE, and small business owners could deduct vehicles over a certain weight (Hummer weight!) from their income taxes. Not to mention Grassley and Archer-Daniels-Midland teaming up to invent a carbon-emitting ethanol industry which the rest of us are paying dearly for. Remarkably little research on how to get liquid fuels from household garbage, though that is changing. Conservation is one of the best things going, and we haven’t set the incentives so the people who use the energy face the cost as they do so. On your specific example, it would likely help to allow landlords to require tenants to pay the utility bills only if the building meets certain standards for energy efficiency, and gets recertified for efficiency on an every-few-years basis. Model the program on car emission inspections/home inspectors. What else? High school driver ed should teach kids to drive stick, there’s one or two mpg right there. I like clunker retirement programs.
My #1 kid was among the older kids in day care when he left – he is a December baby, so the County wouldn’t let him go to school til he was 5 3/4. But he wasn’t as old as redshirt Michael P. Poor kid was desperate – 6 1/2, still being marched out to the playground and read to before daily naps. He really clung to my kid as the other big kid there. He’d been eligible the year before, but his parents had kept him in day care an extra year. Advantage? It’s hard for me to imagine he got any from that.