By Jen Juneau
February 8, 2019
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A study conducted in Florida — where the cutoff date for student admission into a grade is Sept. 1 — is reporting that children born the following August don’t do as well in school as children in the same grade who were born in September.

Published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the research looked at public-school students born between 1994 and 2000 and found that August-born children who weren’t “redshirted,” or held back from starting school for another year, statistically performed more poorly than their older classmates.

The study also found that the September students were 2.1 percent likelier to attend college than their classmates with August birthdays (and 3.3 likelier to graduate), as well as 15.4 less likely to find themselves in delinquent situations with the law while under the age of 18.

To gain some insight on the study’s results, Parents spoke with Katherine Firestone, founder of the Fireborn Institute which, as its mission statement explains, is a nonprofit “to help kids thrive … by focusing on parents.”

“If you are the oldest in your class, your brain has had more time to develop than all the other kids. So, while an August baby may have the same IQ as a September baby, their brain hasn’t had the same opportunity to grow and mature,” Firestone said.

“So, the September baby is socially adept and his brain is ready to learn to read, but the August baby is 11 months behind and may not yet be ready, making things like reading and friendships more difficult,” she continued.

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In a conversation with Today, one of the study’s researchers, Krzysztof Karbownik, clarified that the results do not mean parents should necessarily hold their kids back.

In fact, Karbownik explained, that assumption from parents is “the biggest misinterpretation that people can draw from the research.”

“If you’re [holding an August-born child back] to give just an extra boost to your kids, it might actually backfire,” he said. “Parents think about the immediate gains, but they don’t think about the cost that redshirting could bring.”

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