[I promise I'll get back into some "My Story... " posts again very soon. I confess that I'm a little tentative in part due to a rather scathing email I received on that subject, but I'm trying to put that behind me and remember that "majority rules" around here. ]
In the meantime, though, I just HAD to write on this topic because I find it, well, crazy.
Kindergarten birthday cut-off dates.
Some people are apparently surprised to learn that there is NOT, in fact, some federal cut-off date of September 1st. While that is definitely the most common birthday cut-off for starting kindergarten, there is no law to that effect, and, in reality, no consistency whatsoever all around our nation.
Want proof? Check it out.
Kind of crazy, don’t you think?
With cut-offs ranging from July 31 to January 1st, there’s clearly a wide gap there.
I have a January 27th baby and a December 24th baby, both born in the same calendar year. By Connecticut rules, they could have been in the same grade. (They are not, as you probably know, but they could have been. We chose to send C. with the class she should have been in, had she not arrived so early.)
Here’s the thing…
I don’t think there’s any “perfect” cut-off. Children are all individuals and, no matter when you set the date, it’s arbitrary.
Even though I live here, I find the December kiddos to be super young in their classes. They seem like babies compared to their Spring birthday peers!
Still, my jaw drops when I hear that someone “held back” their AUGUST babies because, frankly, there’s no way on earth that would ever happen here. August babies are in the middle of the pack; it would just be bizarre.
It’s all relative. I get that.
So… I have no answers here, but I feel like we, as a nation, could be a touch more consistent. The thing is, like I said before, no matter when you set the date, some children born before it won’t be quite ready and some born later would do totally fine. That’s just life.
Are these late cut-offs a disservice to children? Not sure. The northeast seems to be where most of the late cut-offs are and, historically, those states fare very, very well in nationwide rankings. That likely has more to do with socioeconomic issues, but, still, I’m not sure the “younger” students are struggling overly much.
I find it fascinating, much like I was completely fascinated with our “back-to-school list” discussion last week. There’s no “right” or “wrong”, really. I just like hearing about the differences!
So, if you’re so inclined, tell us:
1. What’s the birthday cut-off in your state? (It’s January 1st here.)
2. Do you like it? Why or why not? (I think ours is a bit too late. That said, I TOTALLY believe that most Fall babies do just fine going ahead.)
3. Do you think cut-offs should be more consistent? Do you have a preference for what that date should be? (I would like to see consistency. I have no perfect date, but something around October 15th sounds about right to me.)
4. And, finally, do you have differing opinions on sending a child ahead based on gender, i.e. late-birthday boys should be held back while girls typically do fine? (I do NOT, for what it’s worth, but that could be a whole ‘nother post. )