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Advantages in Holding Back Kids in School

August 02, 2004

Re "Held Back to Get Ahead," July 29: Californians are stumbling along an educational path already navigated by Ohioans. When we moved from Los Angeles to Willard, Ohio, in 1996, our then 15-year-old son was the youngest boy in his 10th grade class. We finally learned why: Ohioans hold back their sons a full year before enrolling them in kindergarten. Many do the same with their daughters. This allows them an extra year of growth -- physical and emotional -- which parents support and schools permit. It cleverly avoids the problem you report, of "plucking children out of the educational cycle, taking them away from their peers."

As for the cost to children, I saw a troubling trend while teaching in a Los Angeles magnet school. Many students, working below their capacity in my algebra classes, told me not to worry. They believed strong athletic skills plus affirmative action policies would assure their success in college. I still worry about how they fared -- and at what cost -- when dreams were replaced by realities.

Betty Raskoff Kazmin

Willard, Ohio

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Regarding your article on holding students back a grade: Who pays for the extra year of school? Seems to me if the holding back is for sports purposes, and not because the child needs it academically, the parents should pay for the extra year, not the taxpayer. And it would seem that this practice would also contribute to the overcrowding of our schools.

Bill Bergfeldt

Hollywood

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