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Indybay Feature
Redshirting Kindergartners
by Cameron McAtee (cpmcatee7 [at]
Tuesday Dec 3rd, 2019 6:51 PM
Redshirting kindergartners is becoming an actual issue in our society. Many kids are being disadvantaged by the process of holding back kindergartners for reasons outside of education.
Redshirting Kindergarteners

By Cameron McAtee

Redshirting kindergartners is essentially holding a kid back so that he starts kindergarten at the age of six so that they have advantages. The advantages come in multiple different categories including academics, emotional control, leadership skills, and sports advantage.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, he talks about the advantages of being redshirted as a kindergartener. He explains in an interview with Sixty-Minutes, that starting off in first grade will snow ball the kid ahead of the other kids in second grade. Once they are ahead in second grade, the advantages remain. Redshirting is a social phenomenon that affects every single person in society. If anyone has a child, they are going to be faced with the decision of redshirting. Even when I look back at my life, as a kid that graduated at seventeen, I can’t help but wonder how different my life would be.

Redshirting Kindergarteners becomes more and more prevalent in today’s society. With the increase of knowledge on redshirting, many parents try to help give their kid an advantage in their life. A lot of the boys are redshirted for sports reasons making it more likely for boys to be redshirted over girls. The youngest kids in the class are a majority of redshirted kindergarteners because they don’t want their kid be at an age disadvantage. Many parents feel that waiting the extra year will help their child get a leg up in the world and have a better overall experience through school.

As being someone who started kindergarten at four, I see serious positives and negatives of starting early. I know redshirting creates serious social change because all my friends were way older than me in school and it definitely did shape my identity. I can’t help but feel like in my case it was an extremely good thing to start early. I would’ve been way too bored in class and on top of that being younger helped mold me into the person I am today. The better competition helped me learn at a younger age and now I have a chance to get some degrees before some people even begin their college education. Maybe I would’ve gotten further in sports or develop better leadership roles, but there is also the possibility that I would’ve gotten bored with school. If I had a child, I would not redshirt them unless they weren’t academically ready.

Redshirting kindergartners is a serious social problem that relates to education. Redshirting kids has split research on possible advantages and disadvantages of holding your kid back until they are six to start kindergarten. In my opinion, holding a kid back should be based on a child’s academic level. School should always be about equal learning opportunities and that’s what these overprotective parents who redshirt their child are taking away from the other kids. Redshirting has good implications but is being abused by parents to attempt to create an unfair advantage for their kid.


Albanesi, H. (2019). Tilting the playing field: 'Redshirting' kindergarten boys in the US and the competition for hegemonic masculinity. Gender and Education, 31(2), 240-257.

Bassok, D., & Reardon, S. (2013). “Academic Redshirting” in Kindergarten: Prevalence, Patterns, and Implications. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 35(3), 283-297.

Fortner, & Jenkins. (2017). Kindergarten redshirting: Motivations and spillovers using census-level data. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 38, 44-56.

Gladwell, Malcolm, 1963-. (2008). Outliers : the story of success. New York :Little, Brown and Co., News, CBS. “Redshirting: Holding Kids Back from Kindergarten.” YouTube, YouTube, 4 Mar. 2012,

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