Monday, October 23, 2006

School uniforms

Also on Tuesday's agenda under "Board Development" is a committee Report on Standard School Attire--code for school uniforms I suppose.

What I'm hearing from parents is that school uniforms are cheaper, harder wearing, make life easier for families in the morning and parents are nearly all for 'em. They may not be fans in the beginning but it doesn't take long to convert them.

School staff's are also big fans as it does encourage better behavior amongst the students and those that don't belong are quickly identified.

What's yet to be heard is a legitimate discouraging word about uniforms. The only one that comes to mind is the whine that children will lose their freedom of expression via fashion. Sorry. Children don't really have a right to freedom of expression. They do have time away from school to express themselves. I'm more concerned about whether these children learn to read and write.

Fashion, and not enough fabric, have become too much of a distraction and it needs to be reigned in. Trying to decipher the current dress codes can be too subjective but there's not much confusion about a white polo shirt and khaki pants (legimately belted at the waist please).


Tom said...

Children absolutely have a right to expression. The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld that children do not leave their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door. However, the notion that a strict dress code is a violation of freedom of expression, is, I agree, not a very solid argument. Plus, if dress is the only way kids can express themselves, we've got a bigger problem than what they're wearing. And that is my issue with uniforms- not that I'm against them or for them. As a teacher, I'm happy to leave this up to parents to decide. Sadly, I dress like that anyway, so whatever.

But my concern is that we get uniforms or a very specific dress code and act as if we have truly enacted a plan for better discipline. To me, it's a new PR move designed to give the appearance of order and character without really addressing true problems and solutions about discipline. Building true character and instilling discipline in schools is a lot more complex than changing students' attire. So, fine, do it, but let's still have some substantive dialogue about discipline and behavioral expectations.

Tom said...

So, are they voting on this policy tomorrow night or just beginning the public discourse?

Anonymous said...

Kay -- are your children in uniform?

My biggest grip is the district will not admit it has failed in having children adhere to the existing dress code clearly laid out in the student handbook.

My vote -- let each school decide. I do not want my Hume Fogg student in a uniform. Period. My private school student is in one and that is enough.

I went to Pds/USN. We had a strict dress code my freshman year. After that we could wear jeans and basically whatever I wanted. My parents cringed when they saw me. However, today, my mother will tell you I am a very conservative dresser.

Yes, kids do need to express themselves. However this means belts and not sagging!


Anonymous said...

It would seem most are being punished for a few and all are being punished for the failure of those groups who keep our teachers and principals from making the students adhere to the present standards, which are certainly adequate. I do not agree with uniforms and do not desire my children who still have 1 and 4 years left in the system to wear them. Make the students dress properly to the existing standards or discipline them. If that leads to expulsion or failure to pass, so be it. Better they learn how it works in the real world before they get there than think they can do as they please and find themselves in dire straights.

Anonymous said...

Your children may not have a right to free expression. Mine do, however, and that's part of why they either have or will get into a great college--at which, I can assure you, they will not be wearing uniforms. Schools which adopt uniforms are as likely to have more disciplinary problems (as in Memphis District generally and Litton Middle here)as they are to have less of them (as in Long Beach, where uniforms--okay, coupled with police office walking halls, special tutoring programs, anger management, parent outreach, lower class size, and not doing it in high schools--had some obscure effect.