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Oprah Winfrey once said, “Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom.” A debated question that faces challenging answers is: Should public middle school students be required to wear uniforms? The question can face many answers that can vary from the voice of administrators, teachers, parents and students. The goal is to explain reasons why uniforms have positive and negative effects from the voices of administrators, teachers, parents, student and society.
The trend on uniforms began in the 16th century in England. England was considered the first country to have mandatory school uniforms. Past years over decades many nations began to adopt to a school uniform. However, throughout this issue uniforms have sparked many positive and negative instances. Those who support school uniforms may insist of saving time and money, decrease violence, and better learning environment. Those who do not support uniforms may express the idea of teachers taking the time out to address uniforms, uncomfortable in clothing, and same appearance. Whatever side chosen is totally acceptable, there is no right or wrong answer to uniforms stand. Although your stand may be different from a principal to parent side it’s understandable because the principal and parents may see uniforms at different perspective. When coming from principal’s stand on uniform there can be various reason why principals are most likely to agree with having a uniform policy. Principals are held responsible for numerous things such as; promoting the success of students, providing a nurturing and sustaining school culture, ensuring a safe, efficient and effective learning environment. When initiating a uniform policy, most principal most likely to say uniform can benefit students in many areas. According to the article “Uniforms to sail through school-” by Huang Huifen ,“Mrs. Daphne Yeoh, principal of the new Sengkang Green Primary School, says chose the white-and-khaki- clour combination for its uniform after a survey of other schools in the punggol and Seng Knag area. No other school in the vicinity has the same colours for its uniform. Wanted to make sure our students are not mistaken for those from other schools. We also wanted a uniform that is timeless.” Using this piece of evidence from the principal prospective, Mrs. Daphne Yeoh explain her point on benefiting from applying uniforms and what relationship it can build to the students. Principal Yeoh selected a color that no other school has for their uniform which make sense because of safety issues. For example, if there are several visitors on campus the uniform would help identify that the student belongs to that school and is not mistaken for a visitor or a random student who enter off the street that may be mistaken for a student. Applying a uniform to Mrs.Yeoh visitors would have easy access to enter and leave campus, if a student were to leave campus with out permission and the school faculty and staff is not sure whether or not a student belongs to the school a uniform would be helpful in Mrs. Yeoh understanding for safety reasons. Second issue, Mrs. Yeoh addressees the positive relationship uniforms have, time. Time, is critical to parents and students in grade school. Without having a uniform, parents and students will spend more time finding and outfit for school when getting ready for the school day. According to the “National Association of Elementary School Principals” , “ School leaders surveyed also believe parents benefit from the following as a result of having a school uniform or formal dress code policy in place: Time saving in the morning(93 percent)” saving time potentially for extra studying time. Connecting this survey with parents and from a principal view is understood that most parent save time when a uniform is applied. With that being said principal Yeoh is about saving time for her students. Proving that saving time and recognition can be helpful to a school by promoting the school environment setting a uniform policy can help.
Moreover, not having a uniform policy can touch many people’s personal lives and the performance of students. Uniform policy can tie into discrimination. Discrimination is inequitable dislike of one on another. As for discrimination illustrate this scenario: There is a boy in middle school who prefer to behave more feminine and believe that’s what he should be and now consider to dress feminine. Without applying a uniform policy, he is now being judge by his everyday classmate and this has become a problem to him and others due to his feminist act and masculine goes choose not to associate with him due to his act of feminists. If schools would regulate a uniform policy, it would save time and less frustration with discrimination and make him more comfortable around other guys which they wouldn’t see as a problem. The article “Uniforms proposed for Durham school: “by Crosby, Don. Reads “A school uniform is a good way of getting rid of the discrimination among students based on clothing styles and lets students focus on learning, Said Glenn Miller. It levels the playing field for all the kids. It reduces the distraction from what is hearing, what she is wearing, Said miller. I think the focus will be on academic achievement and not how you look.” Using this piece of evidence from a scholarly article stands with the positon of saving students among discrimination based on clothing style and students will be focus more on achievement than clothing among themselves and others.
Principal may object the overwhelming question and argue and say that uniforms does not have any connection with students and prefer students to come as who they are. If they are comfortable in coming in those clothing feels free which is understandable to others. For example; “Journal of Educational Research” A rebuttal rejecting school uniforms. Reads “A reply to the school uniform rebuttal is offered by Brunsma and Rockquemore. The authors stand by their original results. They believe that Bodine has lost sight of the only important question for school administration that is, will school uniforms increase academic achievement. Their answer is a resounding No.” Principals that do not agree with uniforms as a policy feel that uniforms do not play a role in student achievement. However, teachers are the only need for student’s success and providing a rich education. In “Journal of education Research” it emphasizes student achievement goal by learning orientation and each student determine their own success. Which can be understood as uniforms does not play a role in education success, because students are going to school for education and should be comfortable as in what they would like to wear.
Teachers in today’s society can change student lives by one touch. Teachers are responsible for numerous things such as but not limited to teaching at state content standards, building student background and knowledge, providing a positive learning environment, classroom management and attend faculty meetings. Teachers can see uniforms much different from an administrator view and may have different opinions. With the intentions of teaching some teachers prefer their students to be comfortable while learning which mean giving them to the opportunity to come to school as wanted. Lynee A. Isaacson the author of “Student Dress Codes” states, some believe uniforms will not erase social class lines, because polices do not apply to other items that can be used to convey status, such as jewelry, backpacks, and bikes. Uniforms may not be feasible in high schools, because older students are more independent. Other argue that it is wrong to make children’s right to a public-school education contingent upon compliance with a uniform policy.” Promoting students to attend school as they want can be beneficial for them and students will be independent and focus more on themselves.
On the other side some teachers go to the limit of requiring students to wear uniforms for safety and feel much more they will focus better on the lesson than clothing of other students. Teachers agreeing with providing school uniforms would explain; No student will have the disadvantage or concern to what he or she is wearing or other classmates they will spend more time focus on what teachers have to teach and more time focusing. In accordance with Katheleen Kiley Wade and Mary E. Stafford from the author of “Public School Uniforms”, “Some educators report students are so fixated on what they and their classmates are wearing they spend insufficient time focused on their schoolwork. School dress regulations also are seen as method of instilling socially appropriate values and behavior” As more teachers are taking the stand for uniforms due to the fact uniforms are taking the load to lead to students focusing more on what the primarily objective of attending school instead of focusing on clothing.
Furthermore, teachers argued that uniforms help and prevent bullying they noticed as uniformed are applied. In the text “Uniforms proposed for Durham School:” By Crosby, Don.
The text states “I certainly think there are many benefits to having a uniform policy in the school. One would be a reduction of bullying… students aren’t being identified for their economic level or being picked on for not following the recent trend, said Bluhm, who has three children the elementary school. I certainly think it would build the confidence of students that may be self-conscious about what they are wearing.” Understanding this from a teacher and parent view help bring uniforms to a great point which help with bullying. Bullying, force to someone intimidation. Many schools face bullying problems around the world which can be fatal. Uniforms can help reduce bullying or prevent bullying in schools due to other clothing style. Some students get teased for their choice of daily clothing, which they have no account for what they wear. In spite of uniforms, no child should have to go to school and be bullied over uniforms.
Parents with children attending school may ask many questions when it comes down to uniforms. Most parents agree that initiating a uniform will save time and money in their circumstances. Uniforms can save time by helping parents buying affordable clothing for their child instead of designer which may be a solid color polo shirt and khaki pants, which can be more affordable than designer clothing. Tess Ridge the author of Childhood poverty social exclusion” interviewed parents on uniforms a parent response was “I agree that they should have a school uniform for the simple reason that they would want so many different clothes to wear, but it does annoy me when they outgrow their shoes and I send them to school with their trainers for a few weeks and then I get these letters saying your son is wearing trainers and I think yes I know, I will buy him some shoes when I can afford it.” (Della, lone parent) This parent agrees with having uniforms for her child but doesn’t support when school send report issue on the shoes that may be required. The importance of what the parent is agreeing with uniforms can help with finical stability because of the fact it would help with buying so many different clothing a child may want.
Students may seem overwhelm on whether or not they should be required to wear uniforms. Students feel the need that not allowing uniforms seems more comfortable in the classrooms and can limit their self-expression. Lucas, middle school student from “Should Students wear Uniforms” states “For one thing, think how awkward it feels to wear clothes that dont feel like you. Some kids would be self-conscious and uncomfortable all day long.But even kids who feel OK in uniforms would be losing their freedom of expression. What we wear is a way of telling the world something about who we are.” Lucas stands on not requiring school to wear uniforms anticipate uniform does not let students take pride in themselves. Lucas agreed that students should attend school for who and what they express themselves as instead of dressing as required. Also, Lucas feel that uniforms would not give students the ability to step out their comfort zone and be who they are. On the other hand, students may argue that uniforms are very positive. Students notice that uniforms can help with getting ready for school faster, judging, and bullying. Applying uniforms effect to students will help with so much more time in getting dress in the morning and have less frustration, picking out the best outfit every morning can take numerous amount of time. Students also believe that uniforms can help with prevention of judging one another and bullying. Paige, a middle school student from “Should Students Wear Uniforms” states “Whatever expensive brand-name sneakers or jean are currently in style. Uniforms would put an end to all that. Plus, if we could stop paying so much attention to clothes, we could focus more on our schoolwork-and getting an education is the whole point of school, right? Uniforms could also make Ridgewood safer. No one would be able to wear gang colors or symbols.” Emphasizing Paige’s point justify the importance of uniform from a middle schooler. The intention of attending school is to focus on your education and not what others are wearing. Paige also stands out safety, safety is very important to students. Allowing uniforms would help with safety issues around school and identity so, students can be easily recognizing to the faculty and staff.
What are the expenses of uniforms? Uniforms can be inexpensive in varies of ways. Flipping the point some may say that they cannot afford uniform for their children they have to wear what is available to them. For example, in “Uniforms proposed for Durham School” by Crosby Don. The school provided a uniform for students to accommodate by is solid navy blue and white and pants. In the article Miller said “Any family that is experiencing financial difficulty is invited to speak to him. The company that manufactures the clothing has offered to provide a school uniform to any student who cannot afford one.” If you favor that uniform can be expensive most school that provide uniform give assistance to their students who struggle to purchase a uniform set. Instead of buying designer clothing for a school year or concern about what your child has to wear the next day a uniform can be the key to help. All things considered, uniforms in school can bring in many concerns from admistrators, teachers, parents and students. Uniforms debate has leading questions and answers many may see different from others. Contributors taking a stand with uniforms are more likely to consider uniforms as cheaper, help with the prevention of judging and bullying, save time, help with discrimination and safety for students. Other contributors who does not feel the need for uniforms may argue that uniforms do not save time, uniform hide self-expression or identity, and are uncomfortable. Although, there is no right or wrong answer to this question we must respect each and everyone’s stand on uniforms.
- Huifen, Huang. “Uniforms to Sail through School – Some Principals Engage Designers While Others Poll Students to Have a Uniform That Stands out from Other Schools.” Sunday Times, The (Singapore), 2013.
- “National Association of Elementary School Principals: Serving All Elementary and Middle-Level Principals.” NAESP, 2013, www.naesp.org/national-survey-school-leaders-reveals-2013-school-uniform-trends.
- Ridge, Tess. Childhood Poverty and Social Exclusion: from a Child’s Perspective. Policy Press, 2014.
- DON CROSBY, SPECIAL TO THE SUN TIMES. “Uniforms Proposed for Durham School: Principal Says Move Will Get Rid of Discrimination Based on Clothing Styles.” Sun Times, The (Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada), 25 Mar. 2004. EBSCOhost, libezp.lib.lsu.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsnbk&AN=14EFF923D358E180&site=eds-live&scope=site&profile=eds-main.
- Isaacson, Lynee A. “Student Dress Codes.” Eric Digest, Jan. 1998, files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED415570.pdf.
- Wade, Kathleen Kiley, and Mary E. Stafford. “Public School Uniforms: Effect on Perceptions of Gang Presence, School Climate, and Student Self-Perceptions.” Education and Urban Society, vol. 35, no. 4, Aug. 2003, pp. 399–420, doi:10.1177/0013124503255002.
- Paige, and Lucas. “Should Students Wear Uniforms? Two Friends Face off in the Debate.” Scholastic Scope, vol. 66, no. 8, May 2018, p. 24. EBSCOhost, https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f6h&AN=129308331&site=eds-live&scope=site&profile=eds-main. November 20, 2018
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