About 20% of public schools have made the jump to some sort of school uniform, standardized attire or strict dress code. The debate has been somewhat of a hot subject for several years now. The debate on whether the uniform system has a direct impact on improving student behavior, or whether it actually does create a better environment for students and teachers is still on going. Both sides of this debate have some valid points.
Starting with the pros of the uniform system. Some parents simply enjoy the guess work being removed from the pre-school shopping and even the their morning routines. A percentage of parents just agree that is makes their household run smoother in the morning rush. This seems to be particularly true in households with older children. The experts for the Pro side of the debate believe that uniforms within the school system help children to focus more on learning and less on who is wearing what. School standardized attire may also relieve the pressure students feel trying to fit in. Thus improving the social environment in the school atmosphere. School officials also say that uniform systems improve safety. For example students all dressed in similar clothing helps school officials and teachers recognize if someone comes on campus who doesn't belong. Experts also believe mandatory use of such a dress code reduces violence/bullying with the school.
Now lets move over to the other side of the debate, the cons. One of the largest arguments on the con side is self expression and individuality. Since self expression is an important part of a child's developmental process, some experts believe that forcing uniforms is detrimental to a child's development. The results of this system are often forcing students to find other, often less appropriate ways to express themselves. Experts also conclude the stripping children of individuality with the use of uniforms is another way to force all students into one mold, when they should be celebrating and embracing individuality. They believe that school uniforms does not truly prepare children for the real world in which they will continue to be judged by their appearances and the choices they make within their own lives.
Experts on the Con side also argue over the fact that they believe that the Pros are not really Pros. Advocates of school uniforms say that freeing a student of fashion pressures will allow them to focus on school studies, but there is little conclusive evidence to back up this argument. The experts on the con side of the debate argue that there are more influential factors than what a student wears like study habits, parental support, classroom material, and instructional quality. Cost of school uniform systems is actually argued on both sides. Pro side saying it saves families money since the school attire is sold at discounted prices and is much cheaper than fashionable name brand clothing. While the Con side says it cost families more because most families will buy two sets of clothing for their children one being the school attire and the other a more fashionable set of clothing that suit their children's personalities for nonschool hours.
It is true that both sides of this debate have great valid points with expert opinions. To which side of the school uniform debate do you and your family tend to lean?
Special note: This article was also published in the Cookevilletimes.com
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