School Uniforms: Beneficial or Not?

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School Uniforms: Beneficial or Not?
School uniforms have been a staple of private schools for decades. In recent years, public school systems across the nation have been toying with the idea of implementing a mandatory dress code to improve safety, increase attendance, and improve academic performance. Several public school systems have already made this policy effective. Parents and students everywhere have mixed feelings about the matter. Some believe that school uniforms cannot even begin to repair all of the problems that arise today in our country's schools, and others are happily welcoming the change and waiting eagerly to see the difference that uniforms will make in their children's lives. As in most arguments, members of each side are convinced that they are one hundred percent correct and that the other side of the story is not even worth listening to. Web sites devoted to this topic are no exception, and the web sites that are well researched and that represent both sides of the argument are few and far between.

Many of the web sites that you will find on this topic are anti-school uniforms. "Those Disgusting School Uniforms" is perhaps one of the best articles on the web to look for information that discredits educators' claims of uniform greatness. The text is an abstract that was written in 1998 and published in the magazine Optionality. I myself have never heard of this publication, but the arguments that the author puts forth are very convincing. The web page is impeccably organized and carefully addresses each point that education "experts" bring to the table on this issue. According to the author, the top five reasons that schools give to justify implementing a mandatory dress code are the following: safety, school pride, equity, ease, and training ("Those Disgusting School Uniforms" 1). Piece by piece, the author dissects the opposing arguments and offers examples and situations to refute them. While this is one of the most passionately written articles, there is no author named, which takes away a great deal of its credibility.

Education World's Glori Chaika did a superb job of writing a neutral article titled "School Uniforms: Panacea or Band-Aid?" This article is very well written. It includes everything from tips for educators and parents on how to implement a dress code, to information regarding a study that scientifically proved that uniforms have no direct effect on drug and alcohol abuse, student attendance, or behavior problems. At the end of the article, Chaika offers links to six other resources that expand upon and relate to her topic. She also cites the sources that she used while preparing her article. Any person, regardless of his or her views on the subject, can look to this web site for guidance without getting angry or feeling like they are wrong for their beliefs. In this aspect, the article is one of a kind.

If you are an educator looking for information about uniforms, a good jumping off point would be the Keep Schools Safe web site. The contents of the site are designed to "offer guidance to principals whose goal is to maintain a school climate that effectively fosters learning, safety, a sense of community, and respect for self and others" (Lumsden 2). The authors themselves do not provide any information beyond explaining the situation, but they provide links to several other web sites that an educator would find useful. By appealing primarily to principals and other school officials, the article will not reach as many people, therefore making it less effective than some of the others. However, it is professionally maintained and written, giving it good credibility. The Libertarian Party of Michigan web site takes a much more radical approach to the issue by proposing that implementing a mandatory dress code will eventually lead to communism. While this idea seems completely outrageous, the author does a commendable job of backing up his claim....
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