People say that school uniforms make schools a healthier place for students. They say uniforms make people equal. Uniforms also encourage children to focus on their schoolwork rather than their clothes. Other people say that school uniforms take away students ability to express themselves. They also say that students who wear uniforms don’t behave better or do better in school. They argue that uniforms actually show more rather than hide the differences between wealthy and poor students.
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: “I really went into this thinking uniforms don’t make a difference, but I came away seeing that they do. At least at these schools, they do. I was absolutely floored.”
Draa’s study concluded that those schools with uniform policies improved in attendance, graduation and suspension rates. She was unable to connect uniforms with academic improvement because of such complicating factors as changing instructional methods and curriculum.
University of Missouri assistant professor, David Brunsma reached a different conclusion. In his 2004 book, The School Uniform Movement and What It Tells Us About American Education: 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? Because, says Brunsma, “It’s desperately much more difficult to implement uniforms in high schools, and even middle schools, for student resistance is much, much higher. 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!” (http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/school-uniforms/)
Pros and cons to school uniforms:
Pro- School uniforms keep students focused on their education, not their clothes. During school what you wear always will matter. So if everyone is just wearing the same type of clothes then people will not worry about what others are wearing.
Con- Uniforms make it a lot harder for students to express who they really are. Clothes has a major way in expressing yourself. It shows how you are feeling and who you are. If everyone wears the same clothes then everyone will be the same which is not true because everyone is different.
I asked 2 different students at our school “should schools have uniforms?”
Kaylee Simmons answered: “I wouldn’t really want uniforms because you wake up and you don’t want to wear the same thing over and over again,”
Allie Brown answered: “No because it deprives kids of their own expression and puts down who each kid is in even just a small way. Leveling everybody out isn’t a great way to work school”