The issue of mandatory school uniforms has taken on several debates over the past decade and it is believed that this issue will plague public schools for decades to come. We must ask ourselves the following questions to fully understand the reasoning behind this mandatory uniform policy and why it is important to implement such changes. What are the educational benefits to school uniforms?
How do school uniforms improve student behavior?
Do social barriers really dissolve because of uniformity?
How are uniforms cost effective for lower income families?
Is there a compromise to the uniform issue?
Students who wear uniforms feel a sense of esprit de corps with their fellow classmates. This feeling of being part of a group boosts morale and individual confidence, thus leading to higher grades. Children will be more focused in a uniform classroom. There is no more distraction as to what the other kids are wearing or who has the name brand shoes. Girls will be dressed appropriately and clothing will fit properly. This adds to the learning experience. There is no more competition. There is no more rivalry and the children are able to focus on their schoolwork and not on the latest trends.
In 1988, researches David L. Brunsma and Kerry A. Rockquemore performed a study of eighth grade students and followed their educational paths through college. Demographics were acknowledged and data was collected based on each student's geographic location, ethnicity, and family income, private or public school and of course whether or not the students wore uniforms in school. It was noted that after this study was complete, there was very little difference in standardized test scores to support the idea that uniforms improve academic standing. However, Private schools have been setting the standard with uniforms and these students generally score higher on standardized testing than that of public schools. Discipline is important for our children and providing uniforms will enhance this discipline.
In 1996, Former President Clinton made a state of the union address. In that address, the subject of mandatory school uniforms was mentioned. "If it means that teenagers will stop killing each other over designer jackets, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear uniforms" (Williams). In fact, that year in Long Beach, California, the first district to implement mandatory uniform policies, assault dropped by sixty-seven percent, vandalism by eighty-two percent, and robbery by thirty-five percent. Overall crime was reduced by seventy-three percent the first year the policy was in place (Williams). This was a direct reflection of the uniform policy. Students were more disciplined and behaved in a more mature manner. These students took pride in themselves and others. With the lack of material items to fight over, students no longer felt the need to use aggression towards others, proving that school uniforms do in fact improve student behavior. Also when it comes to crime, a student wearing a school logo, is less apt to commit a crime outside of school while in uniform because it would be easier to track him based off of the school information on the uniform. This lowers the crime rate for the general public as well as the in school instances.
Opponents of this plan believe that uniforms alone were not the cause of the decrease in crime for the Long Beach district. Other changes such as teacher...