Cohorts Not Kids

Blue_spectator backs_2012-09-03

2013-04-02 – The term for it is “cohort.” We send cohorts through school, not kids. Kids on the leading edge do well, but the further back you are in the pack, the worse you do. It’s a big advantage in Chicago for a kid to have a September birthday. September 1 is the cutoff. So kids with September birthdays are the oldest in their class. In kindergarten, they are more mature, and so they get more out of the education. Each year they pull farther and father ahead.

Some savvy parents hold their kids back—a move called “redshirting.”

Redshirting works, but only because we teach cohorts not kids.

If we taught kids, the curriculum would never pass them by. It would never be too soon or too late. We don’t teach kids because teaching kids creates classroom management problems. It seems that we can only manage classrooms if we teach the same thing to everyone—even if it only reaches a small minority of the kids.


In the old days, the really old days, the days of one-room school houses, teachers managed classrooms at all sorts of levels. How was this accomplished? Older kids helped teaching younger kids.

Our culture doesn’t believe in giving, so parents today would never tolerate having their children “used” to teach younger kids.

So forget it. Keep redshirting. Education isn’t about learning anyway. It’s only about getting ahead and pushing everyone else back.

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3 responses to “Cohorts Not Kids

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