August 20, 2010

Redshirting Redux

Pamela Paul writes in the NYT "The Littlest Redshirts Sit Out Kindergarten," giving the pros and cons of having your kid repeat preschool so he can start kindergatren at age 6 instead of age 5. I wrote about it in 2002 here, and it doesn't seem like much has changed in the arguments since then. Back then, I concluded:
Overall, Hyson feared that we were creating a vicious cycle. Kindergarten might continue getting more advanced, causing the average age of kindergarten students to go up in response, which in turn would allow the academic demands to be ratcheted up further. Eventually, after much turmoil, kindergarten might turn out to be simply first grade under a different name, with the same curriculum and the same age students as first grade traditionally had.

Whether or not it's good for society, it could be good (or bad) for your own kid. As for my own views on whether it would be a good idea in any particular case, I was pretty neutral in 2002. Now, I would probably be more likely to recommend redshirting, at least for boys. Developing an expectation of social dominance due to an artificial advantage in age might turn into a real long-term advantage in social dominance.

For example, watching Jimmy Clausen be the top high school football recruit in the Class of 2006 because he was a 19-year-old quarterback chewing up 17-year-old defenses was eye-opening. If he hadn't been red-shirted twice by his NCAA football-savvy parents, he would have been a young 17-year-old in the Class of 2004. Would he have gotten a scholarship to a high profile offensive college then?

Of course, your mileage may vary.

Unfortunately, we don't seem to know how true this theory behind redshirting is. It's hard for social scientists to find out anything very definitive about child-rearing practices because parents are constantly adjusting their decisions according to what they see as the specific (and often changing) needs of their children, which is good for their kids but bad for social science studies. Jim Manzi would recommend running a randomized experiment with a control group, but outside of welfare moms, it's hard to find parents who will sit back and passively let social scientists treat their children randomly.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Sailer, I take issue with your accusation against Yglesias--you accused him of intellectual cowardice in this post:

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2010/08/rawls-and-the-open-economy/#comments

The fundamental difference betweenst you and Mr. Yglesias is that he has a moral-sphere that includes people of all kinds. On the other hand--YOU limit your moral consideration to just Americans, but, really, most especially White-Americans.

This fact explains everything.

Mr. Yglesias is not an intellectua hack, he just has different values than you. He doesn't believe that an accident of birth should determine a person's fate.

He doesn't argue against people trying to better their lives.

He doesn't believe that the White-American life is so much valuable than an immigrant's.

Lady Engineer said...

Back in 2004 when my oldest started kindergarten and the economy was roaring red shirting was the norm at our upper middle class Anaheim Hills public school. As a boy with an August birthday I debated holding him back but decided to send him after getting him independently evaluated. He is going into 6th grade now, is in GATE, and doing well enough but I wonder how much better he would be if I had held him. Sports is a bit of an issue because most of his classmates played in a higher division in baseball than him. For soccer it's not such an issue because the division you play in is decided by birth date and he is better at it and plays "up" [a division] with his classmates. However, he is one of the smallest kids in his class and he is very aware of it especially now that some of the boys are starting to shoot up/fill out. My youngest (boy with an October birthday and I red shirted him) just finished kindergarten this past year and I was shocked that a good third of the class had late fall (October/November) birthdays and started kindergarten when they were 4. (Our district cut off is Dec 2) The economy has taken a toll and quite a few people are choosing not to pay for the extra year of pre-school. (In fact our school gained 30 kids this upcoming year due to transfers from private schools) I volunteered in the kindergarten class weekly and you could tell the younger ones - their attention span is usually not as good. It doesn't really matter that much in kindergarten but when the kids hit 1st grade and above and doing more advanced work you will start to see issues pop up. The school work is definitely advanced at least one grade from when I was young. I advise red-shirting for Summer boys and fall girls.

Anonymous said...

> he just has different values than you. He doesn't believe that an accident of birth should determine a person's fate.

In other words, Yglesias is not a patriot.

Yglesias is a Journolist member, a Harvard graduate with a Spanish last name and a Jewish ethnic background.

So of course he's going to be promulgating a mixture of neoliberal capitalism and symbol manipulation (which puts his tribe on top) and "antiracist" sentiment (which keeps them from being dethroned or even identified).

Even mentioning that he's Jewish probably sets off klaxons in your head, while mentioning that he's a privileged white male etc. would not.

This post is a great example of how fluid his "morality" is.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2007/12/assimilating-to-secularism/47269/#comments


One thing that I guess I could have learned just pondering the world from my chair but that I don't think I really understood until I went to the Netherlands and talked to people involved in politics there is the extent to which the "new atheism" -- which is mostly like the old atheism but involves people acting like jerks -- is specifically bound up with some problematic anti-Muslim sentiments. Previously, things like this Christopher Hitchens column bashing Hanukkah had struck me as merely weird; something along the lines of the contrarian tick that led Will Saletan to proclaim the truth of white supremacy only to be embarrassed when the thesis turned out to be primarily backed by white supremacists, except taking on a much less harmful form.

That's because here in the states, we understand "religion" to mean "Christianity" (and predominantly Protestant Christianity at that) and in public life the "secular" alternative is understoo- as encompassing a vague pluralism that's friendly to minority religious groups, not the strident anti-religious sentiments of a Hitchens or a Richard Dawkins.

In Europe, though, the face of "religion" is increasingly Islam whereas elements of the secular consensus are part of a national identity that elements of the right can embrace. It was explained to me, for example, that one thing Dutch people worry about when they worry about Muslim immigrants is that socially conservative Muslim immigrants might spoil their same-sex partnership law. I joked that conservatives should love immigration, then. But in reality the forces of indigenous religious conservatism are way too weak for anything like that to happen. So instead of a system of cross-currents, where both a cosmopolitan left and a traditionalist right find something to admire about growing diversity, you get a substantial block of people pushing against Muslim immigrants from both a secularist and a nationalist perspective.

From the point of view of an American liberal, it's an awkward situation. One doesn't want to say "you guys should get rid of your progressive views on gender roles because it would make it easier for Muslims to assimilate" but at the end of the day it is much easier for Muslims to go along get along in a country like the US where traditionalist attitudes have more political clout. Of course, if more American conservative Christians decide to go the Pat Robertson route and decide to support Rudy Giuliani on the grounds that fighting Muslims is the ultimate expression of Christian values, then our advantage here will rapidly erode.


It's just about sticking it to people of European ancestry. The surface issue of whether atheism or religion is promoted is a secondary detail. The primary goal is to flood their historic lands with immigrants.

Anonymous said...

> he just has different values than you. He doesn't believe that an accident of birth should determine a person's fate.

In other words, Yglesias is not a patriot.

Yglesias is a Journolist member, a Harvard graduate with a Spanish last name and a predictable (hint: not WASP) ethnic background.

So of course he's going to be promulgating a mixture of neoliberal capitalism and symbol manipulation (which puts his tribe on top) and "antiracist" sentiment (which keeps them from being dethroned or even identified).

Anonymous said...

Matthew Yglesias' fluid "morality":

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2007/12/assimilating-to-secularism/47269/#comments


That's because here in the states, we understand "religion" to mean "Christianity" (and predominantly Protestant Christianity at that) and in public life the "secular" alternative is understoo- as encompassing a vague pluralism that's friendly to minority religious groups, not the strident anti-religious sentiments of a Hitchens or a Richard Dawkins.

In Europe, though, the face of "religion" is increasingly Islam whereas elements of the secular consensus are part of a national identity that elements of the right can embrace. ... So instead of a system of cross-currents, where both a cosmopolitan left and a traditionalist right find something to admire about growing diversity, you get a substantial block of people pushing against Muslim immigrants from both a secularist and a nationalist perspective.

From the point of view of an American liberal, it's an awkward situation. One doesn't want to say "you guys should get rid of your progressive views on gender roles because it would make it easier for Muslims to assimilate" but at the end of the day it is much easier for Muslims to go along get along in a country like the US where traditionalist attitudes have more political clout. Of course, if more American conservative Christians decide to go the Pat Robertson route and decide to support Rudy Giuliani on the grounds that fighting Muslims is the ultimate expression of Christian values, then our advantage here will rapidly erode.


It's just about sticking it to people of European ancestry. The surface issue of whether atheism or religion is promoted is a secondary detail. The primary goal is to flood their historic lands with immigrants.

Anonymous said...

OT:

Hey Truth, this is for you.

http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/President-Barack-Obama-and-first-lady-Michelle-Obama-greet-members/photo//100808/ids_photos_wl/r666520193.jpg/

Anonymous said...

Skip to 2:30 in this video, or watch the whole thing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IohPGXOQJuE

Same thing, same group, different country

kopseer said...

He doesn't believe that an accident of birth should determine a person's fate.

xcept when that person is Jewish, right.

l said...

Yglesias:

Immigration benefits most Americans -- except for working class Americans, who lose. But that's OK. We can fix that. Or ignore it. Whichever. In any case, Mexicans who come to the US are better off than they would have been had they stayed in Mexico, so that balances the lower standard of living for American blue collar types. We'll call that "international justice." If blue collar Americans object to their lost status, we can call them racists -- and feel morally superior to them.

Shipping manufacturing jobs overseas is good, because Chinese and Indian wages are up. But increasing industrial output in China and India means more pollution -- we might even be approaching an environmental disaster. We can always lecture the Chinese and Indians about the environment.

Other people who think about this stuff on a philosophical level are sometimes naive.

Shawn said...

I actually with I started kindergarten a year earlier than normal, to give me a head start on college. But then again I do not have atheletic skills at the pro level. Why not wait until jr. high or so before redshirting? That way a parents could at least be able to see if their kid is in the top .01% athletically.

BS Detector said...

If that is representative Mr. Yglesias is a terrible writer.

He seems more interested in projecting his "intellectualism" than communicating complex ideas clearly. This is a easy tell of someone who is either a good writer but poor thinker and/or someone who is trying to advance a hallow argument.

SFG said...

"It's just about sticking it to people of European ancestry. The surface issue of whether atheism or religion is promoted is a secondary detail. The primary goal is to flood their historic lands with immigrants."

Not really, he's saying he's conflicted between diversity and secularism; he likes one thing on each side. Sort of as if you rotated the political landscape 90 degrees and the two major political parties were libertarian and Christian-democrat; who ya gonna vote for if you're a standard liberal or conservative?

Not that I side with Yglesias. I *love* the idea of being a secular right-winger in a country with few NAMs. No crime, no bible-bashers. Best of both worlds!

SFG said...

I suppose red-shirting means leaving your son back a year, and you have a good argument for it. Of course this isn't the sort of thing that works in equilibrium, but hey. Realizing that you can't think about everyone else all the time because other, more aggressive people are thinking only about themselves is one of the central life insights I have gained from your blog. I'll make my kids read it when they're old enough to keep their mouths shut (if I ever get around to having them).

What's going to be amusing to the (sizable) nerd contingent is that a red-shirt also refers to the expendable extras in the original Star Trek who used to get killed to show how dangerous the monster was.

Anonymous said...

To the first anonymous: you've made this point a million times by now, always in the same confused, dyslexic way. People have presented arguments against your point, and you have ignored them all. I've never seen you say anything back.

"The fundamental difference betweenst you and Mr. Yglesias is that he has a moral-sphere that includes people of all kinds."

Do you mean by this that Mr. Yglesias abhors the idea of determining how much one should care about a person by how closely one is related to that person? In other words, if he ever has kids, he wouldn't care about them any more than he would about all the other billion or so kids in the world? Has he already repudiated his own parents for having cared about him more than they did for other people's kids? If not, why not?

These questions are relevant to this topic because, as common sense tells us and as Steve has pointed out on numerous occasions, races and ethnicities are essentially just big extended families. We feel closer to people of our own race for a very practical reason - we ARE closer to them than to people of other races.

And then there is the issue of unilateral disarmament. Regardless of what you may think about how other ethnic groups SHOULD think, they all care about their own more than about people of other ethnicities. If you refuse to prefer your own, then you have unilaterally disarmed yourself, in other words, you've acted like a chump. It's such a stupid thing to do.

Do you disarm yourself unilaterally in other situations? And even if you do (which I doubt), why such a passion for convincing others to unilaterally disarm themselves? And you do seem to have a passion for this. You repeat this point again and again, always saying how evil it is of Steve to prefer his own (that is, to refuse to unilaterally disarm in a fight).

"Mr. Yglesias is not an intellectua hack, he just has different values than you."

He's probably just more of a hypocrite than Steve is. I've never seen anyone who argued for unilateral disarmament of any sort consistently apply it to himself. Not even Gandhi did that. The contrast is really between being honest about your motives and lying about them (often to oneself as much as to others, but on some occasions just to others).

Gilbert said...

I always thought that having a kid smart enough to be able to skip a grade was a great status indicator. My dad got to do this; I was chagrined that my own grade school had a strict policy against it (I assume because the teacher's union felt threatened).

I'm a little leery of that idea that redshirting gives an "expectation of social dominance due to an artificial advantage in age." Or rather, it might do that for one's particular class, but what happens the minute a kid is forced to deal with bigger or older kids in some other setting?

Anonymous said...

To the first Anonymous:

Thanks for the link to that Yglesias post. I don't think I've ever seen anyone get so thoroughly eviscerated in their comments before. Matt was too dumb to grasp even the most basic elements of his own argument.

By the way, the difference between Matt and Steve is that Matt gets paid by a left-wing think tank to mindlessly regurgitate the dominant orthodox PC bromides of our time, while Steve bravely seeks the truth, no matter how unpopular or unpleasant it may be.

Anonymous said...

"He doesn't believe that the White-American life is so much valuable than an immigrant's."

Maybe not, but he probably does believe that the life of someone in his, shall we say, partially inbred extended family is worth more than the life of someone who is not.

Chief Seattle said...

My son has an August birthday and we didn't red shirt him. I know all the arguments, but elementary school bored the heck out of me, and I can't see doing anything to prolong the process. A little inferiority complex sometimes brings out the best in people anyways.

If I had serious sports aspirations for him the calculation would have been different. As it is I'll work on the fencing scholarship.

Kylie said...

Anonymous said..."Mr. Sailer, I take issue with your accusation against Yglesias--you accused him of intellectual cowardice in this post:

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2010/08/rawls-and-the-open-economy/#comments"

No, he didn't. He was just laughing at Mr. Yglesias's silence about the elephant in the living room.

Besides, hypocrisy isn't the same as cowardice.

Anonymous said...

What's the interaction between redshirting and the pointlessness of 12 grade in America?

Anonymous said...

Steve, this is exactly what happened to me. I missed the birthday cutoff for kindergarten and had to wait the extra year. It actually made me do worse in kindergarten because I was bored to death. Could already read and write and do the math they wanted us to know because I picked it up at home... not from pushy parents, but from siblings. By the time I was in second grade they wanted to skip me into the fourth grade. My parents called foul because they wanted me to socialize and switched schools.

Third grade is where things started to take off. Not only was I a year bigger than all of the kids, now I was a year more coordinated. From there on I would be one of the first three kids picked for teams. My size and athletic ability would be dominant until high school leveled it out. One cannot underestimate what this does socially for any student, let alone one with an IQ in the 99th percentile. It eliminated the dork factor entirely and allowed me to socially flourish from 3rd grade to college. My friends and my career have all been helped along by getting redshirted, and later by my parents' patience in not pushing me forward academically.

Whiskey said...

Did I miss something? Did we have a vote where Whites voted to replace themselves as the overwhelming group (America was 85% White in the 1970 Census) with Mexicans?

And why *exactly* should we replace Whites with Mexicans? What do the former majority get out of it (other than being punished for the "sin" of being born White) and making America into Mexico?

After all, if I wanted to live in Mexico, I'd move there.
--------------------------
Redshirting seems the wave of the future for boys in particular. So much is tied up into dominance that the ability to be the most socially dominant guy in the room will determine for most boys, their sexual, academic, and economic success. As we move more towards a female-oriented "Celebrity" world of fame/social dominance instead of the male-oriented meritocracy (where awkward strivers were just as important as the Tom Bradys or Levi Johnstons).

liberal biorealist said...

Is there any correlation at all between birth month and success in any endeavor that primarily involves cognitive or even emotional skills? I should think that if there were, we would know about it, right?

It is of course just such a relationship that led people to believe that success in certain sports may be based on advantages deriving from one's relative age in a given grade cohort.

Absent such a relationship in other endeavors, why imagine that redshirting is going to confer any real advantage?

Indeed, can't really see how such relative age differences could be a significant factor without showing up in correlations between birth month and success. It should all come out in this statistical wash.

I would guess that there must be hundreds or thousands of databases in which success of various sorts is measured, and in which the birth day of the individual is recorded. Don't you think that someone would have run a simple test to see if there's a correlation with birth month and discovered and published such a relationship if it existed?

This does seem to be a case in which absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

Anonymous said...

Yglesias?

You gave me quite a chuckle. When's the last time you traveled America, buddy?

When's the last time you or Yglesias got in car and drove from state to state, eating in diners that actually serve great pies, talking to folks, picking up a small home-town newspaper in Nebraska or Illinois or Wisconsin, Idaho, the great valley of California or South Central LA ... or gotten a haircut in those towns and talked to the barber and those waiting patiently their turn at the chair, met the town's dentist or its few doctors, its teachers or the high school principal...talked to them about self-reliance, about their jobs, their kids, their concerns?

How can one profess to know anything about America when one is so limited in life experiences that he doesn't even talk to Americans?

Get lost.

Truth said...

The link doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the red-shirting issue needs to be viewed in light of certain developmental nonlinearities.

I read a study years ago about men's self image of themselves as tall. I'm afraid I can't remember where I read it but the gist of it was that a man thought of himself as tall and behaved as a tall man depending on when he had his growth spurt not just how objectively tall he was at maturity.

Boys obviously change at puberty. That means their development process is not linear. Their growth of long bones increases from year to year at steady rate but then - at least for some boys - they have several year's growth all at once.

When I entered junior high school I was a little guy - only about five eight. Then in one year I became six one. I was so clumsy I could barely stand up without falling over. I told this story to my girl friend and she told me that her son who is six five grew even more in one year. She said he cried a lot that year because it hurt so much.

I am one of those people that Malcolm Gladwell writes about - born in January on the cusp in terms of grade assignment. It does indeed matter. I was started early rather than late so I went through school always the youngest and least mature boy in my class.

Then there came that year that I grew.

I thought I might get into fewer fights thereafter. No, I still got into a lot of fights after my growth spurt but the new bigger me now won most of those fights - a most welcomed change.

If I had been red-shirted by starting school a year later I would have viewed myself as the biggest guy in class during many of my formative years whereas I had always had an image of myself as the little guy.

Late bloomers probably shouldn't be started early. The red-shirt decision should be made in light of the parent's family developmental pattern.

Albertosaurus

FuturePundit said...

Anonymi,

It is easy to click on Name/URL and give yourself a unique pseudonym so that the rest of us can figure out when a different voice is talking.

Anonymous I,

I treat my life as more valuable than the lives of others. I bet you do the same with your life and that Yglesias does with his life.

FuturePundit said...

Yglesias' bizarre views on Muslim immigration in the US versus Europe are a hoot. I bet he'd reflexively oppose an attempt by a right-wing party to restrict individual rights. But when the would-be rights restricters are Muslims then he'll only oppose them to the extent that they ally with Christians who want to impose a remotely similar moral code.

If Muslims are taking on a dominant secular society in Europe Yglesias is like a comedic computer from a 1960s TV show that starts bellowing "that does not compute, that does not compute, that does not compute". How can he remain true to his faction if he supports either side?

Anonymous said...

Whiskey, are you even paying attention?

What do the former majority get out of it (other than being punished for the "sin" of being born White) and making America into Mexico?

Being white in Mexico is great and a huge social advantage. There are no special privileges for NAMs there. White people get a few privileges from family networking but mostly are treated equally in meritocratic spheres without reverse discrimination.

Making America into Mexico is the opposite of punishing people for being white. And Mexico is a lot nicer than what they're planning to turn American into.

After all, if I wanted to live in Mexico, I'd move there.

No you wouldn't. The Mexican migra is fairly strict and doesn't tolerate lawless immigration; they can see what happens to suicidal nations like El Norte. There is no reciprocity for our stupidity.

SFG said...

"If Muslims are taking on a dominant secular society in Europe Yglesias is like a comedic computer from a 1960s TV show that starts bellowing "that does not compute, that does not compute, that does not compute". How can he remain true to his faction if he supports either side?"

That's exactly it. He'll support multiculturalism until the Arab kids start throwing rocks at his. But then it'll be too late.

FuturePundit said...

Getting back on-topic:

Whether it makes sense to hold your kid back depends on the path you expect him to go thru. Not all paths are helped by late entry. All you are doing is delaying the point at which serious money-earning starts.

For example, if you want to encourage a career in medicine then acceleration of education makes sense. It takes so many years to do undergrad, med school, residency, speciality training that a kid would be better of starting college at age 16 and going 12 months of the year to graduate at 19. Then getting all the way thru training in a specialty under the age of 30 becomes possible.

none of the above said...

One systemic effect of redshirting is that the whole society gets one less year of productive life from each member. That's a win if going through school a year older makes people broadly do better. If not, it's a hell of a big waste of resources!

Si se puede said...

Academic redshirting will only widened racial performance gaps.

Narrowing these racial gaps are the main objective of educational policy today. Everything under the sun has failed to reduce such gaps over the past half century. Why isn't academic redshirting, which clearly widens these gaps, not prohibited?

Here is a list of suggestions to avoid widening the gap (possible) rather than narrowing the gap (apparently impossible):

- dumb down standardized tests and academic curriculum so nearly everyone gets the same top grade

- make classroom learning impossible for everyone using forced integrated of the most disruptive students into every school and class, particularly for high performing schools and honor classes

- ban academic redshirting

- ban private/prep schools, force everyone into public schools

- ban homework and do not allow students to know or have access to future subjects and material

- ban low/high-IQ parents from mating

- ban low/high-IQ parents from reproducing

Steve needs to accentuate the positive about what can be done (not widen the gap) rather than what can't be one (narrow the gap).

FuturePundit said...

Holding kids back is a bad idea if they are very bright. Since they will be intellectually more developed than their classmates they'll be bored and frustrated. Plus, their intellectual development will be delayed.

Helping kids develop for sports helps a far smaller percentage of kids than helping them intellectually develop and to enter into higher paying careers more rapidly.

Anonymous said...

For tribalists like Yglesias [or Bloomberg, in re the Ground Zero Victory Mosque], it is absolutely imperative that Americans not be allowed to wake up to the fact that Islam is an orientalistic conspiracy hell-bent on destroying this country.

Because if Americans were allowed to realize that there is at least one orientalistic conspiracy hell-bent on destroying this country, then they might start scratching their heads, and saying to themselves, "Hey, wait a second, now that you mention it, don't we already have another orientalistic conspiracy hell-bent on destroying this country?"

Anonymous said...

> It is easy to click on Name/URL and give yourself a unique pseudonym so that the rest of us can figure out when a different voice is talking.

But the whole point is to speak freely and then blend into the crowd.

That is very important because it takes only ~33 bits to do internet-scale deanonymization. See:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=413730

David said...

>Because if Americans were allowed to realize that there is at least one orientalistic conspiracy hell-bent on destroying this country, then they might start scratching their heads, and saying to themselves, "Hey, wait a second, now that you mention it, don't we already have another orientalistic conspiracy hell-bent on destroying this country?"<

Hey, wait a second, now that you mention it....

http://tinyurl.com/32pjfy5
(Hat tip: Fred.)

and:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shechita

Hmmm...

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Mr. Yglesias is not an intellectua hack, he just has different values than you. He doesn't believe that an accident of birth should determine a person's fate."

If you think about it, the phrase "accident of birth" is a ridiculous load of crap. I used to use the phrase myself, and believe what it implies. Anyone who is aware of the truth of HBD can instantly see how stupid that term is.

In reality, however, there is nothing accidental about birth - nothing accidental about who your parents are, and where they came from.

Anonymous said...

"The fundamental difference betweenst you and Mr. Yglesias is that he has a moral-sphere that includes people of all kinds."

Yglesias, like virtually all liberals, is a universalist, but a better morality (IMO) balances universalism with particularism. Everyone everywhere deserves equal consideration in certain respects, but everyone everywhere ALSO deserves to have someone - someone with power - rooting for them in particular. It's like a family: we recognize that all children deserve care from everyone, but mostly we want each child to be cared for by particular people, their families.

Communities, including national communities, are like that to some degree. Someone's got to stand up for weaker members, and it should be the elites. So it's bad for the elites to be thoroughgoing universalists, of either the liberal or libertarian variety.

That's Yglesias's vs Sailer's morality.

"Betweenst" is a great word, BTW.

Anonymous said...

"One systemic effect of redshirting is that the whole society gets one less year of productive life from each member. That's a win if going through school a year older makes people broadly do better. If not, it's a hell of a big waste of resources!"

Only if we keep a fixed retirement age. We won't.

Anonymous said...

"Immigration benefits most Americans -- except for working class Americans, who lose. But that's OK. We can fix that. Or ignore it. Whichever. In any case, Mexicans who come to the US are better off than they would have been had they stayed in Mexico, so that balances the lower standard of living for American blue collar types. "

It does? Immigration has now driven down the value of all labor, skilled and unskilled. In big companies and small, techies tend to be first or second generation Asians or Indians. It's not that they are all so brilliant -- it's just that the first generation of techies in the 60's and 70's, nearly all white, got used to junior executive salaries in compensation for their technical skills. Now, entry level computer programmers are lucky to get $30K if they can find any job at all. The only places still paying retro salaries for techs are government offices and public education.

Most immigrants to the US have a grim employment future, but no matter -- they still live better lives than in the old country as they trample down what's left of our first world infrastructure, borrow money they can't pay back, collect welfare, dump their kids in public schools, and get treated for free at local hospital emergency rooms.

Eric K, said...

This whole discussion assumes that a child will be in the same grade level in all his classes, including physical education. But if a child is accademically advanced or accademically behind, that does not mean that his physical development will be likewise advanced or behind.

If a child is advanced a grade or held back a grade for accademic reasons, he should still be in physical education class with those of the same age as himself. It should also be possible to advance or be held back in some subjects but not others, to be advanced or held back in physical education while remaining with one's age group in accademic subjects, or a combination of the two.

Keeping an accademically gifted child in the same class as those not so gifted gives him no advantage; it only leads to laziness on the part of the accademically gifted child.

Anonymous said...

Yglesias, like virtually all liberals, is a universalist, but a better morality (IMO) balances universalism with particularism.

If you honestly believe that - in your heart of hearts - then Yglesias has succeeded in pulling the wool over your eyes.

If I may be allowed to repeat myself: Guys like Bloomberg & Schumer & Huma Abedin's beard [her bra?] are supporting the Ground Zero Victory Mosque precisely because it is so desperately imperative that they not allow the idea to take hold that there could exist very old, very powerful, very secretive, very well-coordinated conspiracies [with a coordination which - some HBDers might argue - transcends the cultural, and could very well be, to some extent, embedded in the DNA itself], the purpose of which [indeed, one could argue, the raison d'etre of which] is the destruction of this country and, more broadly, the extinction of the last vestiges of the foundational principle of the West.

If you allow yourself to believe otherwise, then you are nothing more than a useful idiot.

liberal biorealist said...

Just to follow up a little bit on my previous post, I think that the apparent absence of any birth month effect on ultimate IQ/SAT/"g factor" is quite telling for what I understand to be Flynn's account of IQ differences.

To begin with, note that it would be extraordinary if such an effect wouldn't be well known by, say, ETS, if it existed. ETS possesses all the relevant data -- that is, SAT scores and birth months -- ready at hand. They're not going to run that test? And consider the power of such a test, given the huge numbers -- well into the tens of millions -- at their disposal. Even if such an effect existed in even a quantity so small as to be of trivial larger importance, it should be easy as pie for them to uncover it by statistical test. Why wouldn't they have noted it if it were found? Wouldn't it suggest that very early school environment played a non-trivial role in SAT scores -- a finding that would ETS would greet, given their powerful desire to distance themselves from anything suggesting that they are measuring something primarily genetic?

Anyway, my point here is this. Flynn, as I understand him, argues that, yes, there are genetic differences in IQ, but that the differences, inherently, are fairly minor. The differences become quite significant across the years, however, because of a virtuous/vicious feedback effect that inclines those who initially do slightly better to do much, much better, and those who initially do slightly worse to do much, much worse. The example he uses is one in sports, in which slightly better athletes get better and better because of the environments they select and are selected for them.

But at least in sports (hockey in any case) there does seem to be a genuine correlation between ultimate performance and birth month -- pretty much as one would expect if the phenomenon were real.

Why then no such known effect when it comes to, say, IQ tests or the SAT? Bear in mind that the advantage conferred by a year difference in birth month is, at age 5, roughly 20 IQ points -- very considerable by any reckoning. Why would this not be detectable at all if rising to the top set up the virtuous cycle Flynn imagines?

Anonymous said...

liberal biorealist: Bear in mind that the advantage conferred by a year difference in birth month is, at age 5, roughly 20 IQ points -- very considerable by any reckoning.

Huh?

Could you expound on this just a little?

Thanks.

[For instance, are you saying that if you administer a 4-year-olds' IQ test to a 5-year-old, then, on average, that 5-year-old will test "20 points better" than the 4-year-olds for whom the test was designed?

Or that a 4-year-old will, on average, test "20 points worse" on an IQ test which was designed to be taken by 5-year-olds?]

FuturePundit said...

liberal biorealist,

If month of birth confers no IQ advantage that tends to suggest that womb plays a small influence. Depending on when the baby is conceived the amount of nutrients from seasonal fruits and vegetables will vary considerably. That variation was much greater 50 years ago. Also, sunlight brings vitamin D. So again, season of embryo development affects what nutrients and other factors are available.

I wonder how much of a score difference on SAT the ETS sees depending on month that the test is given or age in months of the testee.

liberal biorealist said...

Anonymous,

My reasoning is as follows.

For many years, the IQ was measured (for children) as the ratio of mental age to chronological age. Now the average mental age of a 6 year old is, of course, 6, and the average mental age of a 5 year old is 5. But if one pits the average 6 year old against the average 5 year old (the effect at the extremes in birth month for a given kindergarten cohort) then one would expect that the average 6 year old would have, in effect, an advantage of 20 IQ points over the 5 year old ((6/5)*100 = 120).

Now of course IQ is no longer measured this way. Instead, it's done purely in terms of relative performances within each cohort, using scores based on standard deviations within the distribution for the cohort.

But I think it's nonetheless fair to say that the original method very likely gives very similar results to the current method -- otherwise the older method would have not held up as long as it did (especially since the familiar and standard associated percentiles were also fairly well established, I gather), and, moreover, there would have been a major readjustment in scores after the new method was introduced. Certainly I haven't heard of such a readjustment.

Anyway, that's the argument for the accuracy of the approximation, and how I came up with the figure of 20 IQ points.

It's of course not critical to my larger argument that my estimate be dead on; ball park estimates suffice here.

liberal biorealist said...

Following up a point in a previous post.

How big of an effect size should ETS be able to detect?

Let's consider a single year of SAT scores. Approximately 1.5M students take the SAT each year. So app. 110K of a given birth month take it any year. The effect size detectable will depend on the size of the standard error. How big is that error? In the neighborhood of the standard deviation of the SAT divided by the square root of N (here assumed at 110K).

Now the square root of 110K is a bit over 300. The standard deviation of an SAT section is about 100. That's about third of a point. Go 2 standard deviations out to get a reasonable confidence interval, and you're talking about 2/3 of a point. Round it up to a point.

That's how sensitive such a test would be; it simply couldn't miss anything we might care about.

In short, I should think that if birth month meant anything of importance in SAT scores, ETS would certainly know it. Now, using much, much smaller numbers, researchers have been able to detect a birth month effect among hockey players.

Maybe ETS knows something potentially quite crucial to the argument that early school environment plays a major role in eventual SAT scores, and is simply keeping mum about it. But I just can't imagine any motivation for it to do so, and can easily imagine powerful reasons to let the world know of its finding.

Half Sigma said...

liberal biorealist: " Don't you think that someone would have run a simple test to see if there's a correlation with birth month and discovered and published such a relationship if it existed? "

Dude, you haven't been reading my blog. Check out my post on virginity and the zodiac.

Allison said...

Yes, there is already a known correlation between birth month and poor education outcomes:

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/the-prom-effect/

I don't buy the prom effect per se, but I do buy the summer effect: women who have enough resources (including mental resources) to plan their births tend to plan them to coincide with their newborn's birth/maternity leave occurring in the summer, when it's more pleasant and easier to be home tending to children.

So, another hypothesis is that redshirting is another symptom of this choice: once you're planning a summer baby, your child might not arrive quite on schedule, so you'e got some summer and fall. The same parents who take care to plan the birthdate are also more likely to plan redshirting, as they try to find ways to game their child's success in the world. Those who can't or won't do that for their children are left farther behind.

But, is redshirting actually gaming for success? Redshirting may make sense for some boys, but I wonder if it's clear it leads to social dominance. It certainly increases the prowess of athletes in school, but what about the uncoordinated boy, who is now larger than his classmates, and socially unskilled compared to his age mates in other settings? It seems it could easily backfire by creating boys who are seen as dolts.