Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

August 6, 2007

What a difference a few months can make

Filed under: education — texased @ 7:35 pm

Excellent column on how birthdays affect education performance.

A year’s wait can make all the difference in kids’ academic performance | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Education Columnist Joshua Benton

If some significant portion of a kid’s high school grades is based on his birthday, how much of it do you think is based on his childhood access to health care, or the lead in the tap water, or his parents’ ability to read to him at home?

I’ve been reading more information about age and start dates and such since it hits close to home, my son’s birthday is at the end of July. Of course, since he is homeschooled, the academic concerns aren’t as relevant. He’s always been ahead in some subjects and behind in others and it won’t affect his class placement.

Where it has made a big difference is in baseball. Until two years ago, he was one of the youngest in his age group and basically an average player. Two years ago, Little League changed the birthday cut-off and my son essentially was “held back” a year. And for the first time ever, he made the all-star team.

Is he physically that much bigger and better by staying back a year? I don’t think so. He has always been tall for his age so he was never perceived as the “runt” of the litter. Naturally, this year he was the tallest on the team.

I think the bigger difference is the image aspect discussed in the column. He has been improving over the years but since he didn’t make the all-stars as a nine or ten year old, he was never going to make the all-stars with that age cohort. He had been labeled years ago and any subsequent improvement wouldn’t be enough to substitute him for another player who always made the all-star team.

It will be interesting to see what happens when he moves up to the next age group and rejoins his initial cohort for one year.

In any case, I suspect a review of Little League all-star records would bear out the birth month relationship. Give it a few years, and I’m sure there would be a significant shift in the birth months for the all-star team.

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