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In my 30+ years experience as a teacher, children developmentally behind do not "even out" by third grade. They are at a distinct disadvantage into middle school and sometimes later. Entering Kindergarten should not be a "child care" consideration, but I do think that given our modern society the states, communities, and schools should look at and consider offering child care; making it possible for parents to make an unbiased decision and be more open to what the child care provider has to say about their child's readiness for Kindergarten.
I formerly taught kindergarten, and what I observed was that children who entered before they had reached a certain degree of maturity did not do as well. They frequently ended up being retained and having to repeat kindergarten, which sometimes had a negative emotional impact on the child. In cases where parents refused to retain a child, the child went on to first grade and continued to have difficulty mastering the curriculum, again resulting in a negative experience.
Maturity does not always correlate with age, however, and for that reason I think parents should be allowed to continue to choose when their child enters school, with the caveat that the choice should be a responsible and informed one, reflecting the child's true level of maturity, and that parents should be discouraged from using kindergarten as free babysitting or childcare, which unfortunately some of them still do.
All the kindergarten teachers I know were concerned when the first grade standards were moved down to kindergarten, because it meant the kids who were borderline in maturity when they entered were at a disadvantage. There was also a concern that kindergarten was no longer a place where kids had sufficient time to play, explore, and simply process the new experience of being at school.
Every parent and teacher wants a child's first experience of school to be positive and encouraging. If a child's first exposure to a formal school setting results in a constant struggle to keep up, that impression may stay with them and negatively impact their future performance and their self esteem. What we really need is an effective and accurate way of assessing individual maturity, not an arbitrary rule about school entry based on age alone.
It depends on the child and his or her previous experiences. It seems to help male children better (my observation). Varying start dates among school districts may not help families that have greater mobility.
A lot of the articles I've read on this topic make it seem like most parents who hold back their children do it out of a selfish desire to make sure their kids do better than everyone else in school. I think that is the rare case. Kindergarten has changed drastically since most parents were in school themselves. And I believe many parents are concerned about leaving active, imaginative children stuck behind desks. If Kindergarten today is what 1st grade used to be, then perhaps it's more developmentally appropriate for older kids to be in those classrooms.