Monday, May 01, 2006

It's Not Fair!

How many parents have heard that statement from one of their children. "It's not fair! How come they get to and I don't?" My mom stumbled on a cure for that. One day she treated us all the same, according to the youngest of the five. So if the youngest got half a sandwich so did the oldest. When the youngest took a nap we all had to take a nap. Quickly, we learned the difference between "fair" and "equal".

Fair means doing what's best for the individual, equal meant treating everyone the same. Maybe my mom should share some of her wisdom with a few administrators...

Red-Shirting Kindergartners
If it's one thing I've learned homeschooling is that little boys and girls are different. And they learn differently. When my boys were little I let them run and play A LOT. Legos, K'Nex, and blocks were their teachers. I did do some school work but it was intentionally not intense. It was more to create a habit and a routine than to "teach them something". But they learned quite a bit actually. I have found many homeschool parents who say the same thing.

Seems some public school parents want to do the same thing and delay or "red shirt" their boys in kindergarten. ("Red shirting" is a term used for athletes who don't play their freshman year.)
[T]he percentage of boys starting kindergarten at about age 6 or older has gone up, from 7 percent of boys in 1970 to 18 percent in 2001, according to calculations by the U.S. Department of Education.
But some administrators cry "not fair". They see the wealthy as being able to afford to pay for another year of day care. But the poor have to send them on to public school.

"There are fairness and equity issues here," says Samuel Meisels, president of the Erikson Institute school of child development,"I can't say for sure, but it does change the platform for the start of school, and I'd rather see the starting line be the same for everyone."
Author Leonard Sax defends the practice of "red shirting".
What you're arguing is that affluent parents should disadvantage their kids so as not to give them an unfair leg up on poor kids. I don't think anyone could get the words out if they understood that's what they're saying."
Mr. Meisel's argument about fairness and equity reveals the true goal of public education - social equity and justice. It isn't what's best for the child that is at the forefront of policy decisions. And the children, especially our boys, suffer the most.

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