Redshirting is the practice of holding a child back for an extra year before the start of kindergarten, named for the red jersey worn in intra-team scrimmages by college athletes kept out of competition for a year. It is increasingly prevalent among parents of would-be kindergartners. In 1968, four per cent of kindergarten students were six years old; by 1995, the number of redshirted first- and second-graders had grown to nine per cent. In 2008, it had risen to seventeen per cent. ...There is a free book, A Nation Deceived, that details the academic advantages to acceleration.
On the surface, redshirting seems to make sense in the academic realm, too. ...
The data, however, belies this assumption.
The sports analogy does not work. If you try to accelerate a kid athletically, he sits on the bench. But academically, he learns more. You can put a kid about 6 months ahead by sending him to an expensive private school, but it is a lot cheaper and more effective to get accelerated classes in the public school, if possible.