Reclassifying kids has become a debated topic, because the trend is not just found in athletics. A short time ago 60 Minutes aired a story on the subject entitled “Redshirting: Holding kids back from kindergarten.” In the segment they were discussing the practice of holding children out of school for a year to give them an advantage. I came across the question of “reclassifying” recently in a basketball forum, and decided that I would write about the subject and give my opinion.
Reclassifying a student solely for athletic purposes, and what families are doing with kids from an educational standpoint is somewhat different. With the 60 Minutes story the parents are making the decision early, they are deciding during preschool whether to hold the child out a year, “Reshirt”, or start them at age 5. The reasons given are that the parents want the child to get an advantage by being one of the older kids in their class, as opposed to being one of the youngest. It seems there are studies that show older kids within a grade demonstrate greater leadership qualities, they tend to do better academically, and physically they are more developed, so they may have an advantage in athletics.
There are also the parents that are reclassifying their kids for the purpose of athletics. Once the parents realize that their child has some athletic potential, but maybe not the best in their respective class, they are having the child repeat a grade. The intention is to have the child appear athletically more developed then they really are.
Kids develop emotionally, academically, and physically at different rates. Evaluating your child when going into kindergarten to determine if another year of preschool would better prepare the child to start school, I think is a great decision. Conversely, to have your child repeat a grade, solely for none academic reasons, I believe is not a good decision. As parents we have to balance our desire for our children to do well academically, with that of athletically. Actually, academics should weigh heavier than athletics, since as an athlete your child is always one injury away from not being able to ever compete again. Academics last a lifetime.
I believe that as a parent you should always do what is in the child’s best interest from an academic standpoint. If you find that your child is not mentally and educationally not ready to move to the next grade, and it just so happens that the child would benefit athletically, then holding your child back a year, may be a good decision. I just suggest that you consult with your child’s school and even doctor, to make sure holding your child back is the right move to make.
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