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A discussion of the positive and negative effects of school uniforms

Do uniforms make schools better? Yes and no, say the experts. The heated debate over school uniforms shows no signs of cooling off. Print article For the past decade, schools, parents and students have clashed over the issue of regulating student attire. In 2007, cases involving an anti-Bush T-shirt in Vermont, an anti-gay T-shirt in San Diego, and Tigger socks in Napa, California, made their way through the courts, causing many to wonder whether this debate will ever be resolved.

Meanwhile, researchers are divided over how much of an impact — if any — dress policies have upon student learning. A 2004 book makes the case that uniforms do not improve school safety or academic discipline.

A 2005 study, on the other hand, indicates that in some Ohio high schools uniforms may have improved graduation and attendance rates, although no improvements were observed in academic performance.

Why do some public schools have uniforms?

  1. But only 41 percent of students agreed that there was less gang activity at their school after uniforms were required.
  2. Her final analysis surprised her. In Europe, uniform is relatively rare.
  3. I want him to make his own choices, regardless of what I say. Uniformed schools could represent a massive obstacle to new comer families whose financial means may be very limited due to their recent immigration.
  4. Many local authorities say they have no non-uniform schools at all. This study examines the impact of uniform purchases on household expenditures for selected nonuniform apparel subcategories based on an economic model of conditional demand.

In the 1980s, public schools were often compared unfavorably to Catholic schools. Noting the perceived benefit that uniforms conferred upon Catholic schools, some public schools decided to adopt a school uniform policy. Generally, dress codes are much less restrictive than uniform policies.

Do uniforms make schools better?

Sometimes, however, dress codes are nearly as strict, as in the case of a middle school in Napa, California. In August of 2007, the district announced it would relax its dress code — for the time being — to allow images and fabrics other than solid colors. The district superintendent, while admitting that banning images on clothes raises concerns about the restriction of political and religious speech, announced his intention to move soon toward implementing uniforms in the district.

Uniforms are certainly easier for administrators to enforce than dress codes.

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Consider two recent examples of students challenging dress codes through the courts. The school had suspended the student, not for the anti-Bush political statement, but for violating a dress code that prohibits drug and alcohol images.

The school argued that the T-shirt was hateful and inflammatory.

  • If uniforms are intended to curb school violence and improve academics, why are they not more prevalent in middle and high schools, where these goals are just as important as in elementary schools?
  • Brunsma concluded that there is no positive correlation between uniforms and school safety or academic achievement;
  • Also school expectations are easier to enforce when students are in uniform as it is a physical display of readiness for learning by being properly dressed;
  • The debate over uniforms in public schools encompasses many larger issues than simply what children should wear to school.

Check with your school to see what the dress code is, as they can be fairly specific. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, for example, the dress code prohibits: One school might require white button-down shirts and ties for boys, pleated skirts for girls and blazers adorned with the school logo for all.

Another school may simply require that all shirts have collars.

  1. In 2007, cases involving an anti-Bush T-shirt in Vermont, an anti-gay T-shirt in San Diego, and Tigger socks in Napa, California, made their way through the courts, causing many to wonder whether this debate will ever be resolved. Schools in more than 35 states have now adopted uniforms policies, with Philadelphia set to adopt such a policy this fall.
  2. Why do some public schools have uniforms? Her final analysis surprised her.
  3. Meanwhile, the movement toward uniforms in public schools has spread to about a quarter of all elementary schools.
  4. Wearing them reduces stress among students.

In Toledo, Ohio, elementary school students have a limited palette of colors that they can wear: Toledo girls are allowed a fairly wide range of dress items, however: Boys have almost as many choices: When Toledo students reach junior high, they are treated to one more color choice: What research says about school uniforms Virginia Draa, assistant professor at Youngstown State University, reviewed attendance, graduation and proficiency pass rates at 64 public high schools in Ohio.

Her final analysis surprised her: At least at these schools, they do. I was absolutely floored. She was unable to connect uniforms with academic improvement because of such complicating factors as changing instructional methods and curriculum.

School uniform does not improve results – discuss

University of Missouri assistant professor, David Brunsma reached a different conclusion. A Symbolic Crusade, Brunsma reviewed past studies on the effect of uniforms on academic performance.

He also conducted his own analysis of two enormous databases, the 1988 National Educational Longitudinal Study and the 1998 Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. Brunsma concluded that there is no positive correlation between uniforms and school safety or academic achievement. Meanwhile, the movement toward uniforms in public schools has spread to about a quarter of all elementary schools.

Experts say that the number of middle and high schools with uniforms is about half the number of elementary schools. If uniforms are intended to curb school violence and improve academics, why are they not more prevalent in middle and high schools, where these goals are just as important as in elementary schools?

10 Advantages and Disadvantages of School Uniforms

In fact, most of the litigation resulting from uniforms has been located at levels of K-12 that are higher than elementary schools. Of course, this uniform debate is also one regarding whether children have rights, too! This video is part of our high school milestones series about communication skills. The students in this video discuss the pros and cons of school uniforms. After a school uniform policy was implemented in three Nevada middle schools in 2008 and 2009, researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno, set out to find out what 1,350 seventh and eighth graders thought about the change.

The vast majority — 90 percent of students — reported that they disliked wearing uniforms. However, other data showed more nuanced results.

Debate: School uniform

For instance, 54 percent of students agreed that they still had their identity while wearing a uniform, and 50 percent agreed that uniforms saved their families money. But only 41 percent of students agreed that there was less gang activity at their school after uniforms were required. Apparently the same casual mind-set toward revealing outfits is cropping up in the ranks of our teachers. The debate over uniforms in public schools encompasses many larger issues than simply what children should wear to school.

A Symbolic Crusade, David Brunsma.