A Matter of Debate
Debates and discussions on the big issues in education
School Uniform Debate
School routines are in full swing, and the debate over uniforms rages again. In many developed nations (and developing nations), children are required to wear uniforms, such as Great Britain and Venezuela. Is this just another painful example of the United States falling behind the 8-ball in school standards? Or, rather, does it hold true to the value Americans place on individuality? We’ve got two veteran administrators reporting their positions from the field. Read what they have to say, then join the discussion!
I have worked in public schools prior to and after the implementation of school uniforms. I believe school uniforms are one of the best policy changes Memphis City Schools has ever made.
I worked in an urban school with a very high poverty level. I had many incidents of arguments or fights because someone was making fun of their clothing. More times than not children came to school with the same clothes on several days in a row. All too often parents were not using good judgement regarding what was appropriate school attire for their children.
Once the uniform policy was in place students began taking more pride in their appearance. It no longer mattered if they were wearing the same clothes because they all looked alike. I had very few incidents of fights or arguments over clothing. Student behavior dramatically improved. When you look more professional you act more professional. Uniforms have made a huge positive impact in our schools.
I too have worked in the public schools and have seen one fad after another recommended for our students. Charters, vouchers, small schools, personalization-- the list is endless over the past 20+ years--and now school uniforms to save our children, improve discipline, and reduce drop-outs. It is not that school uniforms are a bad thing, it’s just that these random acts of improvement are a distraction from focusing on systematic and fundamental transformation to improve our schools.
If the idea of school uniforms was a part of an overall strategy to transform schools, it might make partial sense. But right now school uniforms are nothing more than a distraction, and I believe the concepts hurts us more than helps.
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