State agency recommends dropping kindergarten 'redshirting' - WFSB 3 Connecticut

State agency recommends dropping kindergarten 'redshirting'

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Redshirting is an issue that has drawn criticism from both sides. (WFSB) Redshirting is an issue that has drawn criticism from both sides. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A plan that would affect kindergarten students is becoming very controversial.

A growing number of parents are holding their children back. It may not be beneficial and a state agency is recommending parents not be allowed to do it.

Redshirting is an issue that has drawn criticism from both sides.

At Noah Webster, many parents are eager to get their kids in school because in most cases, they have jobs.

But in some other communities, parents said they are holding children back and it’s not clear if those children are better off.

Juana Feliciano has a daughter in kindergarten at Noah Webster Magnet School, who will be five years old next month.

Feliciano said her daughter attended preschool and it was expensive.

The decision to send children quickly to kindergarten is often based on finances.

The average cost for preschool in Connecticut is about $211 per week or $11,000 a year

But some parents, who can afford preschool, tend to wait to hold their children back.

“An advantage to having your child wait a year or two and enter when they are 6 or 7, there’s no clear evidence that's in the best interest of the child,” Office of Child Development Commissioner Myra Jones-Taylor said.

The Office of Child Development said research does not show older children do better and it can be difficult for teachers.

“You have a teacher who has to teach to the developmental needs of a child just turning 5 years old in December and a child 6 years old or 7 years old and in a different place,” Jones-Taylor said.

Parents, who have older children, can get waivers. Jones-Taylor said she feels the practice should be stopped, unless there's a medical or developmental issue.

"It helps a lot to start kids as early as possible and the ages matter,” Molly Stuck, who is a teacher in Hartford, said. “The difference between a 7 year old and 5 year old is quite a lot."

But while Feliciano said she feels sending her daughter early was a good decision, it should be up to the parents.

“I think it should be a parents’ choice, depending on financial situation with them at that time,” Feliciano said.

But, in some other communities, parents are holding children back and it’s not clear if those children are better off.

Eyewitness News asked the state Board of Education what they think about the plan to stop waivers. Officials said they have not read the report fully yet.

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