What Is The Point Of School Uniforms ?
Earlier, two of our colleagues had a pretty intense debate on whether or not uniforms are a good thing for school culture. This debate, though, redirected to the war in Afghanistan (we still didn’t know how) but it did make us wonder: what’s the point of school uniforms anyway?
For years, people have been clashing over the issue of regulating student attire in educational institutes. In 2007, there are some incidences such as a homophobic T-shirt in San Diego school, an anti-Bush shirt in Vermont and Tigger socks in California, which ended up in the courtrooms, making us wondered whether this debate will ever be resolved.
A plain shirt and a simple blazer may not be an ideal fashion choice, but if this wasn’t a requirement, we don’t think anyone would throw away the concept of school uniform entirely. We mean, if Ralph Lauren can wear a uniform, then anyone can!
Agree or not, many students and even parents regarded uniforms as a badge of pride; it creates an identity for students as well as for the institution they are studying at.
Uniforms reflect that you’re a part of an institution or an organization. Wearing it gives a sense of unity as if we’re all in this together. Moreover, uniforms give students a sense of belonging to their schools and create an image for that institution in the community.
However, there is not any definitive research that determines how much of an impact – if there’s any – a uniform can have on students’ behavior, learning and discipline. A book published in 2004 argued that uniforms do not have any significant reinforcement over academic discipline. Meanwhile, research in 2005 concluded that uniform policies in Ohio high schools might have contributed to improved attendance rates and graduation, but it didn’t state the impact on students’ academic performance.
So, let’s decipher this debate once and for all and see where it ends:
What is the reason behind adopting a school uniform?
To answer this question, let’s delve into history first. Well, historians had a pretty hard time tracing the origins of the uniform as there isn’t any comprehensive written record, but rather a number of popular influences. But we assure you that school uniform is a pretty old practice, dating back to the 16th century in the United Kingdom, to be exact! Historians believed that the Christ’s Hospital school was the first educational institution that had adopted a uniform attire for students. Students were asked to wear a long blue coat along with knee-high yellow socks, which still has been practiced in today’s age with a few moderations.
In the 1980s, Public schools were usually deemed unfavorable as compared to Catholic schools. Considering the potential advantages that uniforms have had on students, some private schools started adopting policies regarding school uniforms.
In 1996, President Clinton further boosted the campaign of school uniforms in his speech at the State of Union; he said, If it means teenagers will stop killing each other over designer jackets, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear school uniforms.
In recent years, uniforms have changed with respect to the change in societal dress codes. Designers have become more creative while designing school uniforms, as they continue experimenting with new styles and colors every year – but the entire purpose of the uniform remained intact throughout.
Coming back to the point, the entire purpose of adopting school uniform policies was to minimize the socio-cultural gap between students and encourage a sense of unity.
What researchers say about the use of school uniforms?
An assistant professor at Youngstown State University conducted research in which he analyzed attendance rates, graduation and proficiency pass rate of around 64 public schools in Ohio. The final results surprised her; she said, I really went into this thinking uniforms don’t make a difference, but I came away seeing that they do. At least these schools do. I was absolutely floored.
She concluded in her research that schools with uniform policies saw significant improvement in graduation, suspension and attendance rates. However, her study did not reflect the impact a uniform could have on students’ academic performance.
However, David Bruinsma, assistant professor at the University of Missouri, did not agree with that. In his 2004 book, he analyzed previous studies on the impact of uniforms on academic performances and also conducted his own in-depth analysis of two massive data basses he collected from past researches. He reached a conclusion that school uniforms don’t necessarily have any impact on academic achievement and school safety.
Meanwhile, the concept of uniforms has now been extended to almost a quarter of private elementary schools in the country. If the purpose of adopting uniform policies is to improve academics and eliminate school violence, then why aren’t there any in middle and high schools? Well, it may be because high school students are much more hostile than students at elementary schools. Teenagers are rebellious; they don’t really like to be dictated on their choice of attire. That’s why it’s really difficult to implement uniforms in high schools and even in middle schools because of higher resistance level among students.
Obviously, this uniform debate also opens another burning debate about whether children should be entitled to their separate rights too! Well, let’s just not go there unless you want to write an essay about it. If yes, feel free to contact our writers by saying, write my essay and they will help you with it.
Anyways, like it or not, uniforms are not going anywhere and are here to stay for long. It might not be an outfit you would like to wear in your own time, but it does give a sense of belonging to the place where you are studying at and it’s a pretty good feeling if you ask us! Besides, it also frees you from the hassle of standing in front of the wardrobe for hours, deciding what to wear. Not only this, it deters the bullies and makes you feel comfortable in your own true self. School uniforms aren’t that cool, stylish or fashionable, and that’s exactly why we should hold on to them. What do you think? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.