Thursday, July 29, 2010

Uniformity

I just finished purchasing Daphne's uniforms for her upcoming school year at a charter school. Short and long sleeved polos, one of each of the three approved colors. Khaki and navy twill pants. (What IS twill anyhow?) Two absolutely adorable little pleated skirts. And a couple of to-die-for little jumpers. Apparently the darling plaid skirt pictured on the school's website is not actually part of the uniform. It isn't on the list. But I may get a few of those just because I love nothing more than a little girl in a plaid skirt with white knee socks and Mary Janes.

ANYWAY....after spending all that money on uniforms, I had to ask myself, are uniforms good or bad? You'd think I would know by now. I grew up attending public school. Then I went to three different private schools in high school: one with a strict dress code, but no uniform. One with a classic school-girl uniform. And one with a more lenient dress code, but no uniform. I also taught at a private school for 6 years and was the enforcer of a school uniform that whole time. All of that should, it seems, qualify me to make the call on whether school uniforms are good or bad, whether they stifle your individuality or prevent one's financial background from being so divisive. I still don't know!

Any thoughts? Anyone out there with a sound, educated, well-developed opinion on the matter? Or a totally unfounded, biased, hysterical opinion on the matter? I'm all ears.

12 comments:

Tyla said...

As a teacher I would love to see our district go to uniforms (the magnet school in our county has one). I teach at a pulic school in a small, rural town. The population of our middle school is about 450. While we have a good school with few discipline problems I see more and more kids moving in who dress in a manner not conducive to learning in my opinion. It's not that I am anti-black - I myself am fond of certain black clothes - but I am anti-"I don't care how my black, grungy clothes look or whether they're washed or how long and greasy my hair is or how bad I smell because I am making a statement!". This has only recently become a problem in my school.

As a parent I would also love to see our school call for uniforms, especially for my high school daughter. lol. Uniforms would HAVE to be cheaper than the $100 pairs of jeans, etc. the teens want today.

Tyla said...

LOL! Ok, I need to correct something. I teach at a public school, not a pulic school. It seems I am still half asleep.

just call me jo said...

I was a teacher in a high school, but I really have no opinion on uniforms. I've never taught in "big city" schools where attire might be a problem. I do agree with the cuteness of pleated skirts, knee socks and Mary Janes.

jennie w. said...

You know I love uniforms!!! Here's my one bit of advice. If you are given several choices for shirt colors, stick with white. You can bleach white. Those elementary schoolers will get their shirts so stained and disgusting. Also, it's too late now, but spring for the most high-quality shirts you can afford (like Land's End). They will get washed so much that the cheap ones will fall to pieces. Also, as tacky and gross as polyester is, poly pants and skirts look so much better (they wrinkle way less than cotton). Just my two cents!

Jen said...

I am all for uniforms. Here is my reasoning. Kids are MEAN!!! No really think about it, I dont remember ANYONE that didnt get made fun of for something, I think if you can take out the clothing (plus there would be way more modesty in schools) there would be less to be teased about, or less to tease about. For example there is a little boy that was in Masons kindergarten class that would wear the same shirt to school several days in a row. this is after playing outside, having gym, being in HOUSTON, etc... Mason came home telling me that there are some kids in his class that will not play with this boy because he stinks and its not that he doesnt have clothes to wear, he just chooses to wear the same shirt. Mason is his friend and invited him to his birthday party, but a lot of kids are mean to him. Its sad that it starts at such a young age. Even when I was in Middle school I though it would be such a good thing to have uniforms. Then again I am weird and dont think like most people. Yeah, so thats my feelings on it.

Mia said...

In my totally unfounded opinion, I am all for uniforms! We have never lived in a district where they require them, but I have always wished that we did.

Kristina P. said...

I think that they solve a lot of problems.

We are starting a day treatment program in September, so obviously, these are a very different population of kids. And you should see our Dress Code that we have come up with. EXTREMELY specific.

We will get kids brought into our facility from schools that don't have uniforms, but for violating dress code, such as flying gang colors, or wearing really revealing clothing. I think a lot of that would be solved with uniforms.

Suzie said...

I for one am happy that my school does NOT require uniforms. It would annoy me to have a whole other wardrobe to buy and WASH! UGH! And kids will always find a way to classify themselves wither it be through clothing or other things. I do like a good, respectable, modest dress code though. No hoochy skirts, daisy dukes or boobs hanging out is a VERY good thing in my opinion.

Charlie said...

I used to go to Challenger, where they had strict uniform rules. As a kid I hated it--mostly because the jumpers were high-waisted and, at the time, I hated anything high-waisted. (We had to wear jumpers on Mondays and Wednesdays.)

But, uniforms to create a sense of equality. There were never "cliques" or anything at that school. Everyone was the same, and everyone treated everyone else kindly. It was a big shock when I went to public school in 5th grade. People were a lot more mean.

Not to say that's because they didn't have uniforms, but it's a thought.

L. said...

I always wished I went to a school that required uniforms because it would have saved hours every week not to wonder what to wear today, and not to converse for additional hours on the phone with my friends every day coordinating what WE would wear tomorrow. I thought you kids looked very nice in your uniforms.

Then Ben went to Venezuela where the uniform was clean, non-ripped jeans and a solid-color clean T-shirt. He sent pictures, and everyone looked dirt poor and wrinkled -- but clean.

Nicki said...

I love that James has to wear a uniform to school. I'm really looking forward to when Avery goes to kindergarten, not only because I think the look is cute, but I hate the competition when it comes to clothes and name brands. I would rather have my kids make friends based on their own merits and not what kind of clothes they wear.

Michemily said...

I've had this post of yours open on my computer since you first wrote it; I just haven't had time to respond. I wanted to find a response to articles I wrote as a 14-year-old, but I unfortunately couldn't find the file. I don't think words can explain the feeling I have for uniforms. I seriously think uniforms single-handedly turned me into an outspoken rebel. Because of them, my mom and I yelled at each other almost daily for at least a year--the time I was required to wear them. In that time, I found myself wearing the same jacket every single day because our disagreement about uniforms left me without many options. I saw kids who abused the dress code and got away with it, I saw kids who easily had their parents opt out of the program, I saw kids who kept the dress code but who managed to flaunt their styles and rich parents anyway. Uniforms just made for more problems for teachers and students and other faculty--there was so much focus on that when it really should have been on the student's education itself. I could go on and on (even more than I already have), but to some up, I'll quote the banner I had taped to my wall for several years: "I HATE Uniforms!"