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Representative Dale Folwell on CNN: Dropout Prevention Starts Early

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Reporter: When twins Chris and John Pelz were five, their parents decided not to put them in kindergarten, but to wait an extra year. Pelz: If they'd gone into kindergarten, they would've been the youngest kids in the class. Now fifteen, the boys thrive both academically and socially, attending the private Grace Church School in Manhattan. Pelz: Looking back on it, we think it was a terrifically wise move. They're confident kids. Good students, popular. Much of that is attributed to their feeling good about themselves in their classroom setting. Reporter: Yet a new paper out of Harvard suggests enrolling kids in kindergarten when they are a year older has "no long term benefits". Instead, the study says, it creates an imbalance. Students graduate, marry and begin work a year later than others their age. And if kids drop out, it means one year less school, putting them even farther behind. But George Davison, Headmaster of Grace Church School, disputes the findings. Davison: There are tons of studies that show that when kids are older they're able to handle more complicated situations more effectively. Reporter: The debate when to start kindergarten is a big one, and states are increasingly requiring kids born after September 1 to wait an extra year. In North Carolina, lawmakers unanimously agreed to slide back their cutoff date six weeks, hoping to stem the 30% dropout rate. Rep. Dale Folwell: My goal in terms of High School dropout rate is that these children do not get humiliated in the younger grades, so that education is looked upon by them as something of a high value. Reporter: At a time when so much emphasis is put on standardized testing, some people question the real motivation. Reporter: Critics will say "Well, schools are doing this because the older the kids, the better they test." Davison: "Right. And so, it's bad if kids test well?" Davison: If a kid tests better because he or she is a little older, that's because the kid is feeling better about himself or herself. END

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 10 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 211
Posted by: dalefolwell on Jul 31, 2008

Representative Dale Folwell contributes to a CNN report on kindergarten entry age.

Representative Folwell wrote and sponsored "Every Child Ready to Learn", an Act that will prevent younger children from entering kindergarten prematurely and making sure more children are studying with peers of the same age and developmental maturity.

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